Wildfire forces evacuations at Nevada community
RENO, Nev. (AP) – A 4,000-acre wildfire prompted evacuations after threatening a resort community Sunday at Pyramid Lake 40 miles northeast of Reno.
Fire information officer Phil Guerrero said a 60-space RV park in Sutcliffe on Pyramid Lake’s west shore was evacuated after the fire burned within a half mile of it.
Just north of Sutcliffe, he said, the lightning-caused blaze prompted the evacuation of about 75 campers at Separator Bay and the closure of Nevada Route 445.
Pyramid Lake is crowded with campers, boaters and anglers over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Sutcliffe, with the RV park, a marina, store and at least a couple dozen homes, is the only community along its shoreline.
”The fire at one time was a potential threat to Sutcliffe, but I would say Sutcliffe as of now is going to be OK,” Guerrero said late Sunday afternoon.
”I was there when the RV park was being evacuated and people there were definitely very concerned. I saw folks grabbing dogs and whatever they could, and getting out of there quickly.”
Earlier, high winds foiled firefighters’ efforts to stop the spread of the fire on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation.
Officials had just declared the lightning-caused fire fully contained at 2,511 acres Saturday evening when gusts of up to 40 mph caused embers to jump fire lines and the blaze to roar out of control again.
The blaze in the mountains above the west side of Pyramid Lake was about 50 percent contained Sunday afternoon and wasn’t expected to be fully contained until Wednesday evening.
”We would have had it buttoned down, but the winds kicked up and it was off to the races again,” said fire information officer Mark Struble. ”It’s like Yogi Berra said, ‘It’s not over until it’s over.”’
No major injuries were reported.
The blaze was burning in pinyon pine, juniper, sagebrush and grass along the eastern flank of the Virginia Mountains.
More than 250 firefighters were again hampered by high winds and erratic fire behavior Sunday. The winds also grounded three air tankers.
Struble said Saturday’s flareup showed how unpredictable wildland fires can be.
”Everything looked good and we were right on schedule, and, boom, it went over the line,” he said. ”You don’t ever turn your back on a fire not fully contained. It can blow over the lines and be a new ballgame.”
Meanwhile, a 750-acre wildfire near the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, Calif., was contained Saturday night.
The lightning-caused fire 55 miles northwest of Reno started Saturday within a quarter mile of the depot, but was pushed away from the facility by high winds, said fire dispatcher Walt Malena.
No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.
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