Wildfire destroys multiple Reno homes; hundreds threatened
RENO — A fast-moving wildfire burning in winds gusting in excess of 50 mph destroyed multiple homes in a southwest Reno neighborhood Tuesday and forced the evacuation of hundreds more on the edge of the Sierra foothills.
Reno Fire Chief David Cochran said as many as 500 homes were potentially threatened by the wind-driven blaze that grew to 1,500 acres within 3 hours of when it broke out in brush above the neighborhood at about 1 p.m. He said multiple homes had been lost but he didn’t know how many.
There were no immediate reports of any injuries.
Authorities cut off power to about 7,000 customers as a precaution and several roads were closed, including the main thoroughfare of McCarran Boulevard in the Caughlin Ranch area.
Reno police were assisting with evacuations and the Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the Washoe County senior center on the north edge of downtown Reno.
Caughlin Ranch Elementary School was placed on a precautionary code yellow lockdown because of the fire, but school police said it wasn’t currently threatened by the blaze.
Anita Noble of Reno was spraying down a hillside with a garden hose near her daughter’s home Tuesday afternoon.
“I could have been the one to save my daughter’s house and the neighbor’s house,” Noble told KOLO-TV.
“We were about ready to leave and I saw a bunch of smoke and my daughter said it was coming from up in the canyon and it wasn’t, it was right below the ravine. And it was within 10 yards from her property line, so I got the hose and I started spraying. And it helped. Water does work a miracle in a fire,” she said.
Meanwhile, crews north of Reno were battling a brush fire that broke out along the California-Nevada line and has forced the closure of State Highway 70 near Vinton and Chilcoot, California. Authorities said some structures were threatened.
The wind was blowing in ahead of a Sierra storm the National Weather Service said was more powerful than one that carried winds gusting in excess of 100 mph last Friday.