Firefighters in Nevada were hoping to stop a wind-driven wildfire, which had already destroyed 22 homes north of Carson City, from jumping any major roads Saturday.
The fire is burning in the vicinity of Franktown Road which is closed and Old Highway 395A, which is open in both directions, but has heavy traffic from fire vehicles. The fire was 20 percent contained as of 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The fire grew to more than 5 square miles and also destroyed 17 outbuildings. Five hundred structures remained threatened Saturday.
Residents east of Washoe Lake have been allowed to return home. Other neighborhoods have been permitted but told they might have to evacuate again during the weekend. Homes west of the lake remain under evacuation.
The fire was burning in timber, sage and grass. High winds on Saturday created erratic fire behavior, but fire behavior had moderated due to rain having been received within the fire perimeter. Officials stated 480 homes within the fire perimeter have been saved.
But there’s also a flash flood warning through late Sunday night. Another band of heavy rain is expected into early Sunday morning. Rainfall rates are expected to exceed one inch in three hours on burns scars which could trigger debris flows and rock falls. After a break this morning, more heavy rain is expected Sunday afternoon through Sunday night.
The public was asked to avoid the area of Franktown Road, which remained closed Saturday. Mandatory evacuations remained in place for Franktown Road below the address of 6190 Franktown Road.
The Evacuation Center at Depoali Middle School (people and small animals) has been closed but remains equipped, and the UNR Equestrian Center (large animals) and Fuji Park in Carson City (large animals) remain open.
Old US 395A was opened Saturday; however Franktown Road remained closed below 6190 Franktown Road. The open area has expanded to the address of 6190 Franktown Road and above.
For evacuation and fire information, call 775-782-1429.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Fire officials remained worried about the wind and potential for flash floods through this morning. The forecast called for rain to exceed an inch in three hours.
“Local officials should prepare for potential rock and mud flows over roads near these burn scars,” according to the National Weather Service.
Residents living near or downhill from the burn areas could see debris flow. Forecasters warn motorists to watch out for debris cross roadways.
Gov. Brian Sandoval declared a state of emergency Friday to free up resources. Approximately 855 personnel were working on the wildfire. Other resources that have been added in the last day include seven air tankers and 155 engines, according to the Sierra Front Interagency Fire Dispatch Center.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. This fire was first reported at 2 a.m. on Friday, having started in the Little Valley about 8 miles north of Carson City. It spread rapidly thanks to winds gusting at more than 70 mph.
The fire was one of three that broke out along the Sierra Nevada on Friday. A wildfire that prompted the evacuation of 500 homes on the south end of Lake Tahoe was estimated to be 80 percent contained Saturday, according to CAL Fire. That fire has burned about 210 acres and forced the closure of part of California Highway 89.
Firefighters also snuffed out another fire that destroyed at least one structure and had temporarily closed the Mount Rose Highway connecting Reno to Lake Tahoe.