Raging Nevada fires burn homes

Three wildfires set by lightning strikes destroyed and damaged homes in West Reno on Tuesday night.

Residents on Holcomb Lane, Thomas Creek Road and Huffaker Lane were evacuated because of the largest fire.

The largest fire, which started near Arrowcreek Golf Course and ran north reportedly burned two homes and damaged others.

Galena High School served as the Red Cross shelter as Ted Hunsburger Elementary School was the command post.

The burned homes were reportedly along Lamay Lane in Reno.

"The Arrowcreek fire is the major fire," Steve Hale of the Minden Interagency Fire Dispatch said. "It has been a real smoky wind-driven fire analogous to the Belli Ranch Fire back in 1997. People were grabbing their things and running from that fire. The winds drove it from south to north."

Hale said Arrowcreek was the largest of 30 fires burning in the Sierra Front on Tuesday night.

A severe thunderstorm cooked through the area setting fires along its path.

In addition to Arrowcreek, there is a small fire near Galena and another fire in Red Rock.

Three tankers and a Chinook helicopter dumped retardant and water on the Arrowcreek fire which stretched from the golf course to Windy Hill, a distance of five miles.

However, the tankers had to be pulled off the fire at sunset because it is too dangerous for them to fly at night.

"We are getting some reports on the effectiveness of defensible space from this fire," Hale said. "The people who have been taking us seriously have seen some dividends. Fortunately more and more people have been taking us seriously and it has helped us save some homes."

Record high temperatures, dry fuel, the dry lightning storm and the wind all contributed to the number of fires and their spread.

"We're in emergency mode right now," he said. "We are dealing with them on a priority basis. We have multiple lightning strikes and stretched resources. We are a long way from this being over."

Firefighters were also responding to a fire near Coleville that was burning in Little Antelope Valley.

The afternoon lightning storms that sparked several fires in Washoe and Douglas counties left Carson City relatively unscathed.

Four separate brush fires were reported around 3:28 p.m. in the hills east of Snyder Avenue in Douglas County. Minden Interagency Dispatch serviced the fires with two air tankers and by 5 p.m. they were out. The tankers were sharing time battling several blazes in Northern Nevada. Ground crews could not immediately access the area because of the lack of roads.

A fire at approximately 5 p.m. burned 3 to 5 acres adjacent to the truck route of Highway 341 near Silver City. The road was closed while Virginia City volunteers battled the flames.

Carson City residents experienced less turbulence than neighboring counties. Electricity flickered but was restored by automatic backup systems before any down time could be recorded, said Sierra Pacific Spokesman Bob Sagan.

A fire at 4 p.m. near Highway 208 and Jack Wright's Pass was also extinguished by 5 p.m. A Douglas County dispatcher said the fire crew was being dispatched to help battle Reno fires.

A severe weather warning was issued Tuesday afternoon for Alpine County as the storm passed over the Sierra.


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