Wildfire Narrowly Misses Homes Near Reno

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Fire officials hoped for cooperative weather as they battled a wildfire that narrowly missed an upscale subdivision in the Sierra foothills just west of Reno.

Officials said the blaze would pose a risk to about 50 homes in the Somersett development if high winds returned. No houses had been damaged, but flames came within 100 feet of some homes Friday.

The fire had dashed across more than nine square miles. It was largely burning on U.S. Forest Service land, but edged across Reno city lines.

"The fire got close enough to make a lot of people sweat," fire information officer Mark Struble said. "There's a reduced threat to the homes now, but a lot can change in four or five hours with the way winds blow here."

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The blaze damaged a barn, fences and utility poles, he said.

Gusts up to 25 mph fanned flames quickly after the brush fire broke out Friday afternoon near the small community of Verdi just east of the California line. About 800 homes are in the area.

The fire was 20 percent contained and no estimate was available on when containment might be complete.

Five air tankers and three helicopters were assisting about 400 firefighters on the ground.

Somersett resident Barbara Howard packed belongings in her sport utility vehicle after flames came perilously close to her house.

"I'm just trying to figure out what to take out of the house," she told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "It's very frightening."

There was no lightning Friday in the area, and the cause of the fire remained under investigation. Some residents reported seeing campers near the fire's origin.