Brush Fire Destroys House

A fast-moving brush fire fueled by strong winds destroyed one home and damaged two others southwest Reno neighborhood on Monday, the second time this month a wild fire has consumed a home in the city.

A half-dozen other homes were threatened by the fire sparked by arcing power lines just after 2 p.m. before firefighters with as many as 22 fire engines helped contain the blaze about 4:15 p.m., fire officials said.

Like the fire that destroyed a home on March 17, no injuries were reported. But it underscored again the extremely dry conditions that apparently are making for an unusually early start to the fire season.

"We've never really gotten out of the wildland season from last year," Reno Fire spokesman Steve Frady said.

"It still seems to be very, very dry despite the cold temperatures. There's a lot of dead and dying vegetation in the area, which was characteristic behind these homes," he told The Associated Press.

"We could end up having a real bear of a fire season."

Winds gusting from 30 mph to 50 mph pushed the flames through a
canyon Monday afternoon into a heavily populated area west of
Skyline Drive near Moana, northeast of McCarran Boulevard and within about four miles of downtown.

"These kinds of winds are typical in summer time," Frady said. " We are probably looking at extreme fire behavior down the line."

More than a dozen fire engines responded initially to the call and made quick progress battling the blaze estimated to have consumed 10 to 15 acres, Frady said.

A number of people fled their homes although it was not immediately clear if a formal evacuation order ever was issued, Frady said.

"At one point we had 22 engines on the fire. That's a lot of resources," he said.

"Apparently some homes in the area had been dumping yard debris
- branches, bushes, lawn clippings, stuff like that - onto the hill side. That contributes to the fire as well."