Ask Joe: Was air attack delayed on Slinkard Fire?

Crews work on the Slinkard Fire burning west of Topaz on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. (SBG)

From the Ask Joe file one of our viewers has a question about one of the major fires burning in our area.

Greg Ross wrote in asking why is the media not asking tougher questions about why it has taken so long to gain containment of the Slinkard Fire?

Greg says winds have been light and there's plenty of water. So his question is why didn't they get a handle on it sooner?

Here's what I found out:

That Slinkard Fire down by Topaz has been a challenge. It is 93 percent contained now, and it has burned nearly 9,000 acres as of Wednesday, September 6. It started with a lightning strike on August 29th.

I called a few different public information officers and finally got a hold of Samantha Storms with the BLM just before we went on the air Wednesday.

She says yes, there was a delay in getting an air attack started on the fire. That's because their resources were spread so thin with so many other fires burning on federal lands across Nevada and even up in Oregon and California.

Within a few days after the Slinkard Fire broke out they did have several aircraft working the fire, and that's when the containment numbers started to go up.

Also, Storms says there can be a delay in getting information about containment from the fire lines to the media and the public.

Again, as of Wednesday, they were close to full containment.

So the bottom line is there are only so many resources to go around and they have been spread thin this summer. The Bureau of Land Management does its best to prioritize based on the size of the fire and the imminent danger it poses. They rank the fires using that criteria and the resources are doled out based on those rankings.

That can be frustrating to residents who are waiting for resources to arrive, but that is the reality in what has been an unprecedented fire season in Northern Nevada.

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