Arson suspect arrested in wildfire north of Reno |

Arson suspect arrested in wildfire north of Reno

The Perry Fire burns just above a home in the Palomino Valley, north of Reno, Nev., Tuesday, July 31, 2018. The wildfire has consumed 68 square miles of high desert rangeland and forced evacuations north of Reno. Authorities arrested David Radonski, 34, of Reno, on Tuesday as an arson suspect in the fire that started four days earlier near Pyramid Lake.
Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP

RENO, Nev. — A 34-year-old Reno man was arrested on suspicion of arson Tuesday involving a wildfire that has burned more than 68 square miles (176 sq. kilometers) of mostly rangeland and forced evacuations north of Reno near Pyramid Lake.

David Radonski was arrested booked into the county jail on suspicion of more than 40 criminal counts, Washoe County sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon said.

He’s accused of starting the Perry Fire on Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Reno near Pyramid Lake.

Radonski faces two counts of first-degree arson related to either damage or destruction of two residences, Harmon told The Associated Press. He was booked on 41 counts of third-degree arson based on the number of vehicles or out buildings that are known to have been damaged by the fire, Harmon said.

“There could be additional charges if there is additional damage,” he said. No other details have been released.

More than 300 firefighters were battling the fire that was estimated Tuesday to be 31 percent contained between Palomino Valley and the south shore of Pyramid lake.

All highways and roads were open and some evacuation orders were lifted, but dozens of homes remained threatened.

Harmon said the sheriff’s search and rescue teams had made contact with several hundred residences regarding evacuations since Friday night but he didn’t know how many had returned to their homes.

Dense smoke from that blaze combined with a series of wildfires burning in California triggered air quality alerts Tuesday across more than a 400-mile (640-kilometer) stretch of Nevada from Reno to Las Vegas.

The Clark County Department of Air Quality in Las Vegas issued a smoke, ozone advisory through Wednesday as air quality levels moved into the unhealthy range for the most vulnerable populations, including young children, senior citizens and those with respiratory issues.

The smoke was heavier in Reno and Carson City where the air pollution reached the worst level in a decade on Monday because of big fires to the south near Yosemite National Park and to the north near Redding, California.

Air quality warnings that were in effect for all residents in Reno and Sparks were dialed back to apply only to sensitive groups Tuesday. But the air quality for ozone and particulates moved back into the unhealthy range for the general population in Carson City and Gardnerville.

The smoky haze served as a backdrop at a news conference in downtown Reno on Tuesday where City Councilman David Bobzien railed against the Trump administration’s roll back of federal clean car standards.

“When was the last time you can remember our city blanketed in smog like you see today?” Bobzien said.

“Wildfires and increased tailpipe pollution have resulted in the worst air quality levels we’ve had since 2008,” he said. “Rolling these standards back will expose Nevadans to more climate-changing carbon pollution and jeopardize our health.”

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