Nevada Wildfire Forces Thousands to Evacuate

A state of emergency has been declared in northern Nevada today after a wind-powered wildfire in Reno has destroyed 20 structures, forced 9,500 people from their homes and was blamed for the death of one man.

Authorities say the Nevada fire started sometime after 12:30am Friday in the Caughlin Ranch area of Reno and has since grown to 2,000 acres, aided mainly by sustained southwest winds of 35 mph, with gusts as strong as 55 mph.

“It’s a wind-driven fire. It’s a huge challenge. We’re having trouble getting ahead of it,” Reno Fire Department Chief Michael Hernandez told local news channel 10 earlier in the day.

In addition to the damaged residences and thousands of evacuations the Nevada blaze has caused, city of Reno spokesman Kevin Knutson confirmed at least 16 people have been treated for smoke inhalation and one 74-year-old man suffered a fatal cardiac arrest after leaving his home.

“It was due to the evacuation,” Knutson told MSNBC, adding he didn’t have any other details.

Authorities said ninety schools were closed for the day to clear the roads of school traffic and make way for emergency workers.

In all, 450 firefighters – including crews from Reno, Carson City, Lyon County and across the region – are on the scene fighting the blaze, dubbed the Caughlin Fire.

For video footage of the Nevada wildfire, check out the clip below from ABC News.
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via USA Today