A fire broke out at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park just after 8 p.m. Monday night during an Artown performance just a few hundred yards away from concert attendees. It was accidentally started by a family launching model rockets just outside the northwest entrance to the park’s dog park.
Dog owners, passersby, a park employee and a nearby Reno Police officer frantically scrambled to extinguish the rapidly spreading flames.
A Reno resident and his two young children were launching hobby rockets in the sagebrush-laden parking lot. The father said the fire started when one of the rockets landed in some dry sage.
“I don’t know what ignited it,” he told This Is Reno. “It hit the ground, there was no smoke or anything. We gave it a couple of minutes and then just, boom, into a ball of fire.”
People in the area kicked and threw dirt with their hands and dumped bottled water on the fire to keep it from spreading. They were able to put out most of the flames before firefighters from Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and Reno Fire Department arrived and finished the job. The fire was contained to 0.2 acres and no injuries or property damage were reported.
TMFPD officials strongly discourage the use of such devices in open brush areas. The man who was using the rockets self-reported to police and fire officials. It is unknown if he will face any fines or fees associated with the response.
Fire risk is high in the region right now as hot, dry weather conditions have combined with dry conditions on the ground. The current burn code is red, no burning allowed. For more information on fire prevention visit https://tmfpd.us/.
Born in 1971, Eric Marks was fortunate enough to grow up in a time and family where photography and literature were normal parts of his life. His parents were always enthusiastic and supportive of his photography as a child, and encouraged him to read and write as much as possible. From 2005 to 2012 he owned an award-winning, international, high definition video production company, and has produced video and photography in over 14 different countries on four continents. Eric majored at the University of Nevada, Reno in English/Writing and Art, graduating with English and Photography degrees in 2013, and again with an Art degree in 2018. He teaches all genres of photography at Truckee Meadows Community College, is a freelance photojournalist for several publications, and offers private photography instruction.