Fire in Reno area briefly forces hundreds to evacuate |

Fire in Reno area briefly forces hundreds to evacuate

RENO (AP) – A fast-moving wildfire Monday threatened hundreds of homes and briefly forced the evacuations of many residents in the upscale Caughlin Ranch area in southwest Reno.

Reno Fire Department spokesman Steve Frady said the smoky blaze, being fanned by winds gusting to 30 mph, had burned more than 900 acres of brush and some timber. More than 180 firefighters were battling the fire, aided by two air tankers. More fire crews were en route to the area.

Frady said officials had ordered evacuations of 150 to 250 residences, as the flames crept up to some backyards. By Monday evening, the fire began moving south, away from the homes, and most evacuees were allowed to return.

No homes were destroyed, and no injuries had been reported.

Mike Trudell, manager of the Caughlin Ranch Homeowners Association, said he believes the fire started near a construction site, but he didn’t know exactly where or the cause. The homes that burned in Lake Tahoe’s recent Angora Fire had been on the minds of residents, he added.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at McQueen High School and Caughlin Ranch Elementary. Smoke was thick and ash was falling in the area, and several streets were closed, including parts of normally busy McCarran Boulevard.

Besides threatening homes, the fire was spreading west toward the Mount Rose wilderness area.

One resident told the Reno Gazette-Journal she could see flames from her window.

“The streak of flames I see from my window appear to be spreading up the hillside,” said Molly Zurn said. “I’m hearing more and more planes, so I am hopeful the fire gets contained before too much more open space is charred.”

Also, another fire broke out Monday afternoon northwest of Reno near Chilcoot, Calif. That blaze, called the Scott fire, on the edge of the Plumas National Forest had burned about 100 acres.

Elsewhere, officials say lightning sparked four fires near Bridgeport, Calif., along the eastern Sierra. The largest was the Conway fire near Conway along U.S. 395 and was estimated at 40 acres. No homes were threatened.

Nevada has had more than 320 wildfires so far this year. In just the past week, about two dozen fires scorched 185,000 acres, or 289 square miles, in northern Nevada.

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