Verdi Complex Fire Grows To 1,100 Acres

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Firefighters got a break from the weather on Thursday as light winds and slightly higher humidity helped them battle an 1,100-acre complex of wildfires west of Reno.

But the largest of the fires was still only 20 percent contained Thursday evening as firefighters braced for another ridge of thunderstorms packing lightening and stiffer winds out of the Sierra.

"We're seeing a lot of activity inside the fire lines but not a lot of actual growth," said Kelli Baratti, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center in Minden.

The fires, sparked by lightning on Wednesday, continued to send up a pall of smoke that drifted south along the Sierra some 30 miles to Carson City.

One of the fires in the complex initially threatened a subdivision north of the town of Verdi, 10 miles west of Reno.

Equipment and firefighters from throughout western Nevada responded quickly, stopping the growth of that blaze with flames 40-feet high.

"In some of those canyons, the flame lengths were incredible," firefighter Ronan Thornhill said.

On Thursday, some 260 firefighters on hand crews were joined by helicopters in the assault on two larger fires burning in steep terrain and heavier fuel on Peavine Peak. Additional crews were summoned from as far away as Boise, Idaho; Salt Lake City and Elko.

Forest Service spokeswoman Christie Kalkowski said firefighters made significant progress on the fire Thursday, holding the fire lines on the northern boundaries despite gusty winds early in the day.

Baratti said total containment of the fires was estimated at 20 percent. She said there was no estimate of when the fires might be fully contained.

On Wednesday, the flames came within several hundred yards of about 50 homes but never posed any immediate danger to the structures, Kalkowski said. There were no evacuations.


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