Voluntary evacuations underway for wildfire in Northern Nevada

Updated July 5, 2017 - 4:47 pm

RENO — Authorities asked people Wednesday to voluntarily evacuate themselves and their animals to an events center in Reno as a wildfire continued to grow.

Truckee Meadows fire officials said the fire the Palomino Valley has charred more than 4.5 square miles in less than 24 hours, and is spreading. The apparently human-caused fire threatened 58 homes and structures after firefighters arrived late Tuesday afternoon near the town of Nixon.

An advisory from Washoe County says some structures have been affected, but doesn’t say if homes are among them.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning until Thursday amid predictions of hot temperatures, low humidity, gusty winds and dry lightning thunderstorms.

The number of local, state and federal firefighters was increased Wednesday from about 250 to 300, aided by additional fire engines and aircraft.

No injuries are reported.

A landscape fire buffer helped protect a multi-billion dollar Apple Technology Center in the Reno Technology Park east of Sparks.

The fire is one of several in northern Nevada.

Firefighters on Tuesday were battling two wildfires in difficult-to-access areas of northern Nevada where grass and sage were providing plenty of fuel.

The fires, which started Monday west of Reno, have expanded due to consistent winds that are fanning the flames. No injuries have been reported, and no homes or commercial spaces have been damaged.

The blaze that began near Golden Eagle Regional Park in Sparks has grown to about 21 square miles (54 square kilometers) and was 20 percent contained as of Tuesday morning, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District public information officer Erin Holland said. The fire burning up and over the hills crossed Interstate 80 near Patrick, prompting the temporary closure of the road.

Helicopters and airplanes have been dumping fire retardant and water on the flames.

The area near the fire includes several distribution centers.

Meanwhile, a wildfire in the Wadsworth area reached more than 31 square miles (80 square kilometers) overnight and continues to grow, expanding from Washoe to Churchill counties. Holland said the fire is burning in “extraordinarily” rugged terrain not near populated areas.

“Fortunately, it is kind of heading into the middle of nowhere,” she said. “That’s in our favor.”

Fire officials do not expect the two fires to merge.

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