MONO COUNTY (CBS SF) — Wind-whipped wildfires burned in the eastern Sierra and in Reno, where an out-of-control blaze destroyed or damaged about 12 homes and buildings in one neighborhood and forced hundreds to evacuate.
The Mountain View fire was burning in the Mono County town of Walker near the California-Nevada border and had grown to 5,000 acres in just hours, forcing evacuations and shutting down Highway 395, according to authorities.
The fire broke out at around noon Tuesday in the area of Walker south of Topaz Lake along Highway 395.
- UPDATE: One Dead As Mountain View Fire Grows To Over 28,000 Acres; Wind Concerns Remain In Reno Fire
Shortly over an hour later, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office announced an evacuation order due to the fire threatening structures in Walker. The order covered the area of Walker from Eastside Land to Topaz Lane.
Evacuation Order issued for Walker from Eastside Lane to Topaz Lane. This is a lawful order to leave now.
Due to a fire in Walker Highway 395 has been shut down from Eastside Lane to Larsen. https://t.co/AkmUZ5qN43
— Mono Sheriff (@MonoSheriff) November 17, 2020
The communities of Coleville and Topaz were also evacuated, according to the official incident page.
The fire also closed Highway 395 from Emigrant Street in Bridgeport to the Nevada State Route 208.
The Mono County Sheriff’s Office posted an image of the fire burning south of the Walker General Store shortly after 2:30 p.m.
A temporary evacuation point was set up at the Carson Valley Inn located at 1627 U.S. Hwy 395 in the Nevada town of Minden.
The fire was fueled by winds in the 50-60 mph range. As of around 3:30 p.m., the fire had grown to 5,000 acres. A pyrocumulus cloud was spotted east of Topaz Lake.
Pyrocumulus cloud east of Topaz Lake just now, low to the ground in high winds, from the #MountainViewFire 13 miles south in Walker, California. Gusts to 60MPH.
Hwy 395 is closed at the NV/CA border. pic.twitter.com/g5Ple9HlCU
— Jeff Sullivan Photo (@JeffSullPhoto) November 17, 2020
As many as 500 homes were threatened by the blaze that grew to more than two square mile within hours of igniting in brush above the neighborhood, Reno Fire Chief David Cochran said late Tuesday.
The Reno Gazette Journal reported that one of its photographers saw at least five homes burn. There were no immediate reports of injuries, and the cause of the fire was under investigation.
Winds gusting over 50 mph drove the flames but later subsided and rain fell late Tuesday night and early Wednesday.
A fire in #Reno has dozens of homes in the path of the blaze. Multiple homes have been destroyed and about 500 more were under threat. If you need an #adjuster, #expert or temporary housing please visit https://t.co/GdV6pcVtN2. Stay safe out there!https://t.co/oCCJ5reRFR pic.twitter.com/oviNPblE89
— Bar List (@barlist) November 18, 2020
Cochran said teams responded from fire departments in Reno and California to help battle the blaze through the night and managed to stop the fire’s progress.
“We are working to protect homes to the extent that we can,” he said.
Anita Noble of Reno was spraying down a hillside with a garden hose near her daughter’s home, telling KOLO-TV that she “could have been the one to save my daughter’s house and the neighbor’s house.”
“We were about ready to leave, and I saw a bunch of smoke, and my daughter said it was coming from up in the canyon, and it wasn’t, it was right below the ravine,” Noble said. “And it was within 10 yards from her property line, so I got the hose and I started spraying. And it helped.”
Mayor Hillary Schieve signed a local emergency declaration and pleaded with residents to stay out of the area. Police Chief Jason Soto said he was increasing patrols in evacuated neighborhoods to help protect homes and businesses.
Authorities cut power to about 7,000 customers as a precaution, and several roads were closed.
Police assisted with evacuations, and the Red Cross set up an emergency shelter at the Washoe County senior center.
Meanwhile, crews north of Reno battled a brush fire that broke out along the California-Nevada line and has forced the closure of State Highway 70 near Vinton and Chilcoot, California. Authorities said some buildings were threatened.