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Wildfire burns homes and threatens residents south of Reno

Feather Publishing
1/20/2012
6:00 p.m. update

Highway 395 is still closed, however the Nevada Department of Transportation is finishing the guardrail work and they plan to open 395 between 10 p.m. and midnight tonight.

The roads into neighborhoods will remain closed;.

Authorities have said that an individual has come forward and admitted improperly disposing of fireplace ashes.Fire Chief Mike Hernandez said the person who admitted starting the fire by improper disposal of fireplace ashes is an elderly man, but officials will not release his name.

The Washoe County District Attorney’s office will investigate the man’s actions to determine if charges should be filed.

A woman is believed to have suffocated from the Washoe Drive Fire. The investigation is now a criminal one.

From 5 p.m. press conference: During a press conference from Depoali Middle School at 5 p.m. today, officials said they had 65 percent containment around the Washoe Drive fire.

The fire area is currently experiencing light rain and diminished winds. Snow is predicted for tonight and tomorrow.

This will be the last update unless there is additional significant information.

10:00 a.m. update

The Washoe fire south of Reno, Nevada is 50 percent contained and the spread has been stopped. Approximately 27 homes have burned but 800 homes were saved in the East Lake area. There has been one fatality but no information has been released about the circumstances or the identity of the person. An estimated 3,700 acres have burned.

There are reports that 6,000 to 10,000 people were forced to evacuate. Some of those have been allowed to return, reducing the number to an estimated 1,000.

Fire officials report that forward progress on the Washoe Fire fire has been halted. Fire behavior has moderated overnight due to diminishing winds, lowering termperatures and increasing humidity/moisture moving over the Sierra Nevada/Carson Range.

Firefighters are working to secure the perimeter and mop up the fire.

Risk Assessment is being coordinated by Washoe County and will continue throughout the day. (Washoe County Building, safety, anf fire officials)

U.S. Highway-395 remains closed between Eastlake Blvd., to the Junction of SR 341/431 (Mt. Rose Junction) in south Reno. U.S. Highway 395 will remain closed until further notice - please make alternate plans.

 

American Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at Damonte Ranch High School, 10500 Rio Wrangler Parkway in Reno. Small animals can be evacuated to Damonte High School. Large animals can be evacuated to Reno Livestock Events Center.

Evacuation information inside the 775 area code call 211. Outside the area call 775-337-5800.

Incident Command Post is at Depoali Middle School.

Approximately 700 fire and law enforecement are assigned to the incident, including 39 fire engines, 6 hand crews, and two dozers.

There is no estimate of containment and control.

1/19/2012

A wind driven wild fire on the outskirts of Reno has forced evacuations and power outages. Several structures, including ten homes, are reported to have been burned.

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is calling for immediate evacuations in Old Washoe Valley, Saint James Place, and Pleasant Valley. Pleasant Valley Elementary School has been evacuated by school police. Parents are asked to pick up their children at Damonte Ranch High School. Please note that parents or guardians must have identification to pick up their children. Traffic is currently being diverted at Laramie Drive.

The fire was estimated to be 3,000 acres as of 5:00 p.m. An unknown number of structures have been burned.

The Sheriff's Office will be providing instant Twitter updates to keep citizen's informed during the fire. Interested residents can follow the Sheriff's twitter account at @washoesheriff.

An unofficial general map of the fire location can be viewed here. Another more detailed map of the fire can be seen here.

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