High winds are fanning a fire that spread through the Nevada Sierra foothills and threatened the city of Reno on Friday, the 18th November 2011. The sudden fire has sent around 10,000 people from their homes in the middle of the night. Some 400 firefighters from local departments as well as the state and the federal are battling the blaze, which is roaring into other locations due to the strong winds. The heavy smokes from the wildfire and the wind gusts have made rescue helicopters difficult to control the blaze. Here is the latest news from the Reno fire:
The blaze, which erupted about 12:30 a.m in Reno of Nevada on Friday, has scorched more than 2,000 acres, burned 30 houses, made sixteen people hospitalized for smoke inhalation and an elderly man, who attempted to escape the sudden fire, died of a heart attack. Firefighters has asked residents to evacuate their homes and struggled to contain the fire. At the present, nearly 5,000 home are threatened by the blaze while some 10,000 people have evacuated.
According to authorities, at least 90 schools in Northern Nevada have been closed in order to make way for emergency workers and two high schools are being used as shelters for hundreds of families who have left their homes. Although the worst was likely over as firefighters have largely contained the blaze, Fire Chief Mike Hernandez said that flames still endanger some areas. Health officials have urged people to stay inside and reduce physical activity. They have also warned that the dust as well as smoke have been adding to pollution levels in the affected regions.
The cause of the fire was not announced, but Hernandez said that a downed power line or homeless encampments in the area combined with the strong winds and dry terrain might be to blame. At the current, over 4,000 NV Energy customers lost power because electrical wires were scorched and knocked down while utility workers couldn’t access the fire area.
The cause of the wildfire in Reno is still under investigation
A picture of a firefighter trying to control the flames, whipped by strong winds, in Reno, Nevada
The sudden wildfire has sent around 10,000 people from their homes in the middle of the night
The blaze erupted some 12:30 a.m. in Reno of Nevada on Friday
People watch the fire spread in Reno, Nev.
At least 30 houses in Reno has been burned by the flame
Reno wildfire destroyed over 30 homes, with more high winds expected