Capital Press

DENIO, Nev. -- The Holloway Fire in the Trout Creek Mountains of Nevada and Oregon has grown to more than 430,000 acres and still has "extreme growth potential" while listed as 68 percent contained.

Firefighters were hopeful the afternoon of Aug. 14 that they may have the Nevada side of the fire trapped. They concentrated efforts to protect structures in the upper Kings River Valley, surrounded on three sides by land already burned, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

In Oregon, suppression focused in the northwest corner near Antelope and 12-Mile Creek. Bulldozers built fire lines to protect a wilderness study area and power lines.

Firefighters are also managing two other fires in southeast Oregon, northeast of McDermitt, Nev., -- the 9,000-acre 10-Mile Fire and the 5,000-acre Banana Lake Fire. They were 85 percent contained on Aug. 14 and estimated for full containment on Aug. 16. They started by lightning Aug. 10.

The Holloway Fire is between Denio and McDermitt in Humboldt County, Nev., and between Cottonwood Ranch Road and the Oregon Canyon Mountains south of Whitehorse Ranch Road in Harney and Malheur counties in Oregon.

The BLM closed the area to antelope hunters and then to the public with the exception of area ranchers, firefighters and government employees. The closure is from state Highway 201 to U.S. Highway 95 and south of Whitehorse Ranch Road to the Oregon-Nevada line. Later the BLM Burns District of that area, the western portion, was reopened.

Volunteers and ranchers fought the fire near Whitehorse Butte on Aug. 11, said David Herman, owner of Whitehorse Ranch.

"A couple of BLM fire information officers came through to drop off their reports and I told them there was no one fighting the fire except neighbors, the Stoddarts and the Whitehorse crews," Herman said. "The fire was burning down the canyon and they (BLM fire information officers) were out taking pictures of what a wonderful job they were doing managing the thing."

That evening, Aug. 11, firefighters arrived, set up camp and sat around and didn't do anything because they couldn't find a supervisor," Herman said.

Whitehorse hands moved about 100 cattle out of the path of the fire but one calf caught fire, a Herman ranch hand said.

The fire burned Whitehorse Butte, six miles south of the ranch house, Willow Creek and Whitehorse seedings and thousands of acres of the ranch's BLM grazing allotment.

The fire was slowly burning at midnight Aug. 8 about 12 miles southwest of the ranch house, but no one was there to fight it, Herman said.

"It looked like 30 motivated people with shovels could have put it out. The wind was nonexistent and the temperature was in the mid-60s," he said.

"Wind came up today (Aug. 9) and it was reasonably hot. Now they have a full-scale conflagration on their hands," he said.

The BLM said thick vegetation and dry conditions made work difficult. The agency lists resources at: 817 people, 49 fire engines, 25 bulldozers, 12 water tenders and six helicopters.

Acreage was estimated at 207,822 in Nevada and 224,556 in Oregon. Estimated containment shifted from Aug. 11 to Aug. 22 to Aug. 16 and to Aug. 18. The fire was ignited by lightning on Aug. 5.

Gene Seidlitz, BLM Winnemucca District manager, in a news release said BLM priorities are to maintain firefighter and public safety, protect the communities of Denio, private ranches and property and distribution infrastructure including fences, power lines, gas lines, substations and communications towers.

"We also want to ensure the protection of critical sage grouse habitat, the Lahotan cutthroat trout and culture resources in the area," he said.

Seidlitz added that he recognizes potential impact to grazing on public lands and encouraged permit holders to cut fences, open gates or take other measures to protect their livestock.

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