|Page (1) of 1 - 05/23/12||email article||print page|
CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) ' A fast-moving wildfire erupted in a rural neighborhood near the Nevada-California line Tuesday, destroying several homes, sending up huge plumes of smoke and forcing the evacuation of residents after authorities believed a controlled burn may have rekindled in strong winds.
The fire was reported around 2 p.m. in the Topaz Ranch Estates area in south Douglas County and about 50 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe. Many homes in the area are built on large hillside lots that are dense with sage brush and juniper.
Sgt. Jim Halsey, of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, said a controlled burn in the area was extinguished Monday, but may have restarted. By late afternoon, the fire was estimated at 400 acres, or just larger than a half-mile, and there was no estimate of containment.
The American Red Cross set up an evacuation center at the Topaz Estates community center, and the northern Nevada chapter's director of disaster services said she was told as many as 200 homes were threatened.
"We are receiving people there and animal control also is on scene to receive household pets but we don't have any preliminary numbers yet," Tanya Milelli said.
Several outbuildings were also destroyed, though officials had no exact numbers.
Highway 208 between Holbrook Junction and Wellington was closed to everyone except residents.
A hiker telephoned 911 to report he was trapped in the hills near the Lyon-Douglas county line about 3:30 p.m. He was able to reach his car where he sought shelter in heavy smoke, surrounded by fire, before a sheriff's deputy located him and was able to escort him to safety before 4 p.m., according to sheriff's dispatch radio reports.
By late afternoon, the fire was moving away from homes up into the hillside.
Winds were steady throughout the day, gusting throughout the day across the region that has seen very little moisture all winter, leaving vegetation dry and extremely flammable.
Keywords:Nevada Wildfire,Property damage,Fires,Accidents and disasters,Natural disasters,General news,Natural resource management,Environment,Environment and nature,Land environment
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