What started as a small fire Tuesday afternoon quickly spread Wednesday, forcing home evacuations and a closure of Highway 395 near Coleville, Calif.
Between morning and late afternoon, the fire jumped from an estimated 350 acres to 1,000 acres. The spread was blamed on early afternoon thunderstorms.
Because of thick smoke on Highway 395, traffic was routed east at 2:30 p.m. from Holbrook Junction to Bridgeport, Calif. on highways 238, 338, and 182.
The highway reopened at 5:30 p.m., said Bureau of Land Management Spokesman Mark Struble.
Residents of 15 homes were allowed back into the area after being evacuated by the Mono County Sheriff's Office. No damage to homes was reported.
"A thunderstorm whipped up winds and changed the fire's direction," said Diane Minutilli, Sierra Front information officer. "Visibility was getting pretty bad there for awhile."
Rain on Tuesday did not slow down the flames, Minutilli said. "It rained significantly for about 45 minutes, but it didn't do much."
Commanders expect to have the fire contained in seven to 10 days. The inaccessibility of the terrain is slowing efforts.
Personnel and resources are also being shared with fires in Reno, Minutilli said. An air tanker made one drop of fire retardant during the daylight hours on Wednesday.