18 homes destroyed in northern Nevada wildfire

A wind-whipped wildfire raged out of control Friday in northern Nevada, destroying more than a dozen homes, forcing evacuations, closing roads and schools, and triggering power outages, officials said.

A state of emergency was declared as the blaze burned between Reno and Carson City.

Nevada Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Gail Powell said an estimated 18 homes had been lost in Washoe Valley.

More than 300 firefighters were battling the blaze that has charred about 3 square miles of brush and timber. Winds gusting in excess of 70 mph along the Sierra Nevada's eastern front were keeping air tankers and helicopters on the ground.

No deaths or injuries have been reported.

Evacuation centers were set up in Reno for displaced residents as well as livestock.

"All of Washoe Valley is considered to be at risk," Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Chief Charles Moore said.

Nearly 5,000 residents remained without power, mostly in southwest Reno, according to NV Energy.

Gov. Brian Sandoval left a special session of the Legislature to get a briefing on the situation. The fire delayed the start of the session in Carson City.

Moore said air support was ready to join the battle as soon as winds subside. He said 125 fire engines were already on the scene or on their way. Fire crews from Sacramento also were on the way.

Another fire that prompted the evacuation of 500 homes on the south end of Lake Tahoe was estimated to be 25 percent contained.

The El Dorado County sheriff ordered 500 homes evacuated between Emerald Bay and South Lake Tahoe, California. That fire has burned about 200 acres and forced the closure of part of California Highway 89.

Several elementary schools, a high school and the Redfield campus of the University of Nevada, Reno were closed.

Another fire burning along a highway connecting Reno to Lake Tahoe had destroyed at least one structure.


AP Writer Michelle Price in Salt Lake City contributed to this report