RENO, Nev. — A wind-driven wildfire that had prompted warnings for about 500 people to evacuate charred one sprawling property in a rural northern Nevada community, a fire official said Thursday.
No residents were injured, but several firefighters narrowly escaped flames when the nearly 5.5-square-mile (14.25-square-kilometer) blaze reversed course Wednesday afternoon and headed again toward homes in the Palomino Valley, Truckee Meadows Fire Chief Charles Moore said.
“The firefighters on the line called it an instantaneous blow-up of the fire,” Moore told The Associated Press. “It came back at them so hard that it just went right past them.”
Ken and Sue McGuire told KRNV-TV in Reno they lost a house, a travel trailer where their son lived, sheds and vehicles when the wind shifted and flames swept across their 40-acre property.
Ken McGuire told the Reno Gazette-Journal he saw flames beside his truck as they drove out ahead of what Sue McGuire called a wall of fire.
Moore said residents of about 200 homes and horse ranches heeded an advisory to voluntarily evacuate as the fire grew Wednesday to 3,500 acres (1416 hectares) and burned through plentiful grass and brush.
A Washoe County official said more than 100 animals were sheltered at an equestrian events center in Reno.
The fire was about 20 percent contained, with a federal wildfire specialty team due to join the battle on Thursday as weather forecasts predicted high temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds.
“We still have a long hot summer ahead of us,” Moore said. “We could continue to see this kind of fire activity all the way to October.”
The fire was one of several burning in hot, dry northern Nevada.
A fire that started Monday near Golden Eagle Regional Park in Sparks grew to nearly 42 square miles (109 square kilometers) as it spread away from populated areas. Fire officials reported it was 15 percent contained.
A wildfire near Wadsworth, north of Fernley, was mapped at more than 110 square miles (285 square kilometers) in an unpopulated area. It was reported to be 35 percent contained.
Gusty winds remained a concern at another fire that burned two outbuildings and an abandoned mobile home this week about 15 miles northeast of Lovelock. It grew Wednesday to almost 23 square miles (60 square kilometers), and was 30 percent contained.
This story corrects reference to weather forecast including gusty winds, not little wind.