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19 Homes Burn, Emergency Declared in Nevada

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has declared a state of emergency as hundreds of firefighters battle a wind-whipped blaze that has destroyed 19 homes in the Washoe Valley between Reno and Carson City.

Truckee Meadows Fire Battalion Chief Alex Kukulus said the fire that broke out early Friday is threatening dozens of other homes west of U.S. Highway 395.

More firefighters are on the way — some from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area.

No injuries have been reported.

Fire Chief Charles Moore says the cause of the blaze is under investigation after a controlled burn was conducted in the area earlier this week.

Kukulus says some rain has helped, and winds that were gusting at more than 50 mph have died down a bit but were expected to pick up again later in the day.

The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District says firefighters on the scene estimate as many as 18 homes have burned. Dozens more remain threatened.

Gov. Brian Sandoval left a special session of the Legislature to get a briefing on the situation.

Moore says the entire Washoe Valley remains at risk along the eastern front of the Sierra where winds are gusting in excess of 60 mph.

Assistant Washoe County Manager Kevin Schiller declared a state of emergency on behalf of the board of county commissioners at about 11:15 a.m.

Winds gusting have kept all firefighting aircraft on the ground. But Moore says air support is ready to join the battle as soon as conditions improve. He says 125 fire engines are already on the scene or on their way.

Meanwhile, the Eldorado County sheriff has ordered 500 homes evacuated on the south end of Lake Tahoe. That fire has burned about 200 acres and forced the closure of California Highway 89 between Camp Richardson and Meeks Bay. California Fire officials say that blaze, dubbed the “Emerald Fire,” is now estimated to be 25 percent contained.

A third fire along the Mount Rose Highway connecting Reno to Lake Tahoe has destroyed at least one structure. But most evacuation orders have been lifted there.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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