RENO, NV - The Washoe Drive Fire was apparently started by someone who improperly disposed of fireplace ashes, according to Reno Fire Chief Mike Hernandez, who says the case has been forwarded to the district attorney's office. The fire is 65 percent contained and 2000 people have yet to return to their homes, according to Reno fire officials. The size has also been downgraded from 3900 acres to about 3177 after aerial mapping.
It is believed 26 homes have been destroyed by the fire, whose cause hasn't been determined. Firefighters are now concerned about flooding based on expected heavy rain.
The evacuation center at Damonte Ranch High School has been closed; the few remaining people who didn't have family or friends to stay with have been put in hotel rooms by the Red Cross.
Washoe Fire residents from two burn areas were allowed back in to survey their property Friday afternoon via emergency personal for evacuees whose homes have been damaged by fire. If and only if you reside on the following streets and your house has been affected by the fire please call 337-5800 for further information:
•Old Ophir Road
More than 700 firefighters continue the fight along US 395 in Washoe Valley.
U.S. Highway 395 remains closed Friday because of power lines on the road. Fire officials say it could reopen Saturday morning.
You can check road conditions by calling 511 from within the state, or 1.877.NV ROADS from outside Nevada.
You can also check www.nevadadot.com for additional information.
Authorities are also investigating one fatality. They are not saying if the death is related to the fire.
About 100 customers are still without power in the area south of Andrew Lane to Franktown, and south of Washoe Valley. NV Energy crews are working to get the power back up, ideally by Saturday morning. If you are among the affected, please call NV Energy at 834-4100.
Most crews battling the fire are local. Some crews were called in from California, but they got stuck in the Donner Pass due to weather. They had to turn around because of chain controls.
Due to the Washoe Valley fire and closure of US 395, RTC INTERCITY service is operating on a detour through Virginia City. From RTC 4th Street Station in downtown Reno, southbound buses will travel to S.R. 341 (Geiger Grade), to U.S. 50 to Carson City. Northbound buses operating between Carson City and Reno will travel in the opposite direction. Bus stops in Carson City at College Parkway and Winnie Lane will not be served. Expect delays of more than two hours.
For complete RTC information on RTC services go to www.rtcwashoe.com or call 775-348-RIDE.
Postal service will not be delivered in the evacuation areas in Pleasant Valley and along US 395 and beginning Saturday residents can pick up their mail at the following locations:
•89704 – Residents in that zip code can pick up mail at the Carson City Post Office located at 1111 S. Roop St.
•89511, 89521 – Residents in that zip code can pick up mail at the Steamboat Post Office located at 75 McCabe Dr. in Reno.
Insurance Commissioner Scott J. Kipper urges residents affected by the Washoe Drive fire to contact the Nevada Division of Insurance (Division) at (888) 872-3234 if they have questions about insurance or need assistance with insurance claims.
Hazards that are generally covered by a home or renter’s insurance policy include fire, wind, smoke or a loss of use. If a resident believes they have a claim, they should review their policy and immediately contact their agent to file and discuss the details of their claim. Those impacted by the high winds and subsequent fire can call (775) 687-0700 or (888) 872-3234 to speak with the Division’s team of insurance professionals if they have a question. A list of the claims hotline numbers for Nevada’s ten largest home insurance carrier groups can be found at http://doi.nv.gov/sinfo/doc/claims_hotline_numbers.pdf.