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March 26, 2007
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High winds feed brush fires in Carson City, Reno

Whipped by wind gusts of up to 30 mph, a brush fire on Monday came dangerously close to destroying an east Carson City mobile home.

Carson City fire crews were called out to the Villa Sierra mobile home park in the 4900 block of Highway 50 East for the report of a field ablaze.

Homeowner Ardie Myrick said he was inside the mobile home at space 25, next door to the field, when he heard a roar.

"I didn't know what it was and by the time I got out there, all the sagebrush was on fire," he said.

Myrick was able to escape the flames and his home was not severely damaged. However flames crept underneath the single-wide and damaged the utilities, making the home unlivable until it's repaired.

Myrick said that means he, his wife and adult son will have to find somewhere else to live.

"It will cost more to fix it than it's worth," he said of the 1977 mobile, which his family has lived in for the past 10 years.

Fire Chief Stacey Giomi said except for some smoke smell, the contents of the home were saved.

About a quarter acre burned before crews got it under control.

Giomi said the fire cause is under investigation.

And in southwest Reno, a fast-moving brush fire fueled by strong winds destroyed one home and damaged two others on Monday, the second time this month a wild fire has consumed a home in the city far ahead of the typical start of the fire season.

A half-dozen other homes were threatened by the fire sparked by power lines just after 2 p.m. before firefighters with as many as 22 fire engines from local stations, neighboring towns and California helped contain the blaze about 4:15 p.m.

"We could end up having a real bear of a fire season," Reno Fire Department spokesman Steve Frady told The Associated Press.

The only injury reported was to a Reno firefighter who was taken to a local hospital after gusty winds blew cinders and dirt into his eyes, Frady said.

Winds gusting from 30 mph to 50 mph pushed the flames through a canyon into a heavily populated area west of Skyline Drive near Moana Lane, northeast of McCarran Boulevard.

"We've got a lot of units out here but the winds are obviously a problem," he said. "These kinds of winds are typical in summer time. We are probably looking at extreme fire behavior down the line."

Firefighters received some help before sunset when rain and then snow began to fall on the smoldering hillside as the leading edge of a Sierra storm moving into the area. Full control of the fire was expected by early today.

"It was frightening how fast it really occurred," said Charlie Ragusa, a resident of the neighborhood.

"In a matter of minutes a large area was affected as the fire raced up the hill towards these peoples' houses," he told KRNV-TV. "We are very fortunate the fire department got here as fast as it did."

Like the fire that destroyed one home and damaged eight in west Reno on March 17, the blaze underscored the extremely dry conditions unusual for this early in the year.

"We've never really gotten out of the wildland season from last year," Frady said.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Mar 27, 2007 02:10AM Published Mar 26, 2007 03:00AM Copyright 2007 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.