Wildfire south of Reno forces evacuations, closes a highway

June 17, 2021 GMT

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A fast-moving wildfire forced evacuations of homes, snarled highways and drew a rapid response Wednesday from firefighters using helicopters to drop water on flames blackening exceptionally dry vegetation south of Reno, authorities said.

The fire in Steamboat Valley quickly expanded to about half a square mile (1.3 square kilometers) on a day with temperatures in the mid-90s (35 Celsius) and crackling-dry humidity but little wind, officials said.

Initial reports from the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District said flames were burning away from homes and toward Interstate 580. There were no immediate reports of structures damaged and evacuations were eventually lifted.

Authorities said I-580 between Reno and Carson City was closed in both directions during the evening commute, and Old U.S. 395 also was shut down. The interstate reopened before nightfall.

Adam Mayberry, spokesman for the fire district, said the cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known.