Wildfires pop up around western Nevada

Motorists lined up for miles after Interstate 80 was shut down Monday evening due to smoke and poor visibility.

Motorists lined up for miles after Interstate 80 was shut down Monday evening due to smoke and poor visibility.

Fire departments from western Nevada and the Lake Tahoe are on the move as many wildland fires have broken out in the area.

Churchill County sheriff Ben Trotter expressed concern Monday night about the Wadsworth fire threatened about a dozen homes in the Duffy area east of Fernley and off Interstate 80. He said the Fallon/Churchill Volunteer Fire Department, along with other departments, were stationed to protect structures. Trotter said Duffy is off exit 50.

“We call the area ‘The Castle,’” he added.

The sheriff said the evacuation order was lifted later in the night. He said fire crews, however, are strongly urging residents to stay away until further notice because of unpredictable winds.

Trotter said the fire was last reported moving toward Nightingale Monday night and that smoke and visibility temporarily closed a portion of Interstate 80 between Nightingale and Trinity, which is 35 miles north of Fallon.

Assistant Fire Chief Bill Lawry said Fallon sent an engine and water tender to assist.

The 20,000-acre fire has been burning about one mile north of Interstate 80 and was first reported on Monday morning. No cause has been reported.

Between the Wadsworth fire and another one burning east of Sparks, residents could smell smoke as far east as Fallon Monday night and as far south from Dayton to Silver Springs.

A 13,500-acre fire that began near Golden Eagle Park near Sparks Monday afternoon spread eastward and closed Interstate 80 because of heavy smoke. Traffic was lined up for miles in both directions. Nevada State Troopers turned eastbound traffic around at the Mustang exit and westbound cars at Patrick.

As a result of the closures, motorists were using U.S. Highway 50 as one alternate detour or heading north toward Pyramid Lake from Fernley and skirting around the southern edge of the lake and then south toward Spanish Springs.

Numerous fire engines and hand crews from the Nevada Division of Forestry were dispatched to the scene. Motorists witnessed aerial tankers circling the fire near the highway.

“We would also like to take this time to remind people of the extremely hot and dry conditions and the excess of fuel as a result of an extremely wet winter,” Trotter said on his Facebook page Tuesday morning. “Please use caution when out enjoying nature and make sure your campfires are fully extinguished, discard smoking material safely and that you stay on trails. Fireworks are illegal and can be dangerous so please don’t risk everyones safety and holiday by discharging illegal fireworks.”

South of Carson City, a 25-acre wildfire burning south of Jacks Valley Road Monday afternoon is so far not threatening structures or prompting evacuations, according to Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center.

East Fork Fire District Chief Tod Carlini said the fire started at about 4:10 p.m. near the Montaña subdivision in northwestern Carson Valley.

Fire officials believe the fire was burning on either Bureau of Land Management or Washoe Tribal land, near Genoa Lakes Golf Resort.

Both a jet air tanker and a helicopter were providing air support on the fire burning mostly in grass, as wind blew the fire down slope toward the river.

Although the cause hasn’t been officially determined, high winds, heat, and field grass is suspected of igniting the fire.

The wildfire caused road closures including Foothill Road, 395 to Jacks Valley Road, to Genoa.

With 67 engines, 40 personnel, and helicopters carrying heavy tanks to dip water, Carlini said crews were progressing well on the fire.


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