Wednesday Update: Smith Valley residents allowed to return home |

Wednesday Update: Smith Valley residents allowed to return home

Smith Valley resident Jerry Snyder took these photos of the Bison fire on Tuesday afternoon near his home. Snyder's was one of the homes evacuated by Lyon County deputies last night.
Jerry Snyder |

The evacuation of 78 homes at the mouth of Pipeline Canyon in western Smith Valley was lifted on Wednesday after firefighters prevented the Bison fire from reaching the neighborhood.

Fire officials the all-clear to residents of the area north of Artist View and west of Upper Colony Road to go back to their homes, according to Lyon County Manager Jeff Page.

Growth of the 24,136-acre Bison fire slowed considerably Wednesday as nearly 1,100 firefighters continued to battle wind and terrain.

According to the 7 p.m. update, firefighters worked along a ridge above the 78 evacuated homes to stop the blaze. The voluntary evacuation of homes went into effect on Tuesday evening, when the fire started down the slope toward Pipeline Canyon, located just south of Artesia Lake in Smith Valley.

But even with 65 percent containment, officials are watching the weather to see if they will continue to make headway against the fire.

In the week the fire has been burning since it was set by lightning. only one structure has been reported lost, and a firefighter twisted a knee.

While haze from the Bison fire hung in the air, Wednesday morning was the first in six days when a huge smoke plume wasn’t rising out of the Pine Nut Mountains.

The only sign of the fire on the Pine Nuts’ west slope was a few small wisps of smoke where single trees were burning.

At more than 41 square miles, the fire was called the largest blaze ever recorded in Western Nevada by Sen. Harry Reid speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

The cost of to fight the Bison fire climbed to $4.8 million, according to the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch.

A red flag warning expired at 10 p.m. Wednesday. Today is forecast to be breezy, with southwest winds blowing 15-20 mph in the afternoon, gusting to 30 mph.