Nev. wildfire crews brace for more gusty winds
RENO — Fire crews braced for windy conditions in western Nevada again Wednesday after battling a series of wildfires the day before that threatened dozens of homes, downed power lines, shut down a highway and prompted voluntary evacuations along the California-Nevada line.
More than 600 residents remained without power Wednesday near Topaz Lake about 70 miles south of Reno where the flames threatened as many as 40 homes Tuesday evening.
U.S. Highway 395 was closed near the state line for about three hours before it reopened Tuesday night. One out-building was destroyed, but no homes were damaged or injuries reported in that 8-acre blaze.
East Fork Chief Tod Carlini said fire crews had to contend with gusty winds fueling the flames before they got the upper hand with the help of a helicopter dumping water.
“It had some serious potential of damaging some structures,” Carlini said.
Another fire across the California line in Alpine County had burned about 70 acres, but authorities said Wednesday it was about 60 percent contained and no structures were threatened. One firefighter suffered a minor injury battling that blaze.
Crews also snuffed out a pair of small wildfires on the west edge of Reno on Tuesday, and a third one in Lyon County near Stagecoach on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service in Reno issued a red-flag warning for much of western Nevada due to windy conditions that forecasters say will continue to raise the wildfire danger over the next few days.
The warning area stretches from the California line near Reno to south of Hawthorne and as far north and east as Winnemucca. It includes Carson City, Fallon, Fernley, Lovelock and much of Mineral and Lyon counties.
The combination of low humidity and gusty winds can cause wildfires to grow rapidly in both size and intensity before crews have a chance to respond, the service said. The forecast calls for winds gusting up to 35 mph Wednesday afternoon. The warning expires at 10 p.m. but resumes this afternoon and Friday afternoon.