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Pinehaven Fire follows in the tracks of the Caughlin Fire 9 years ago

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 8:41 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Reno resident Billie Casse remembers well nine years ago when the Caughlin Fire threatened her home. She says her husband noticed a red glow outside their window and went to investigate.

“We were kind of just watching it,” says Casse. “The wind was crazy. and he went outside on the roof because that’s what men do in really windy areas. And it was like oh my god it is coming this way,” she says.

Casse says it doesn’t seem like nine years ago when the Caughlin Fire raced down Manzanita Canyon right toward her house. She had a five-month-old baby at the time and wasn’t given much time to get out.

“It was so quick not even knowing what to grab, I honestly grabbed the baby and a breast pump,” she says.

“The call from the Battalion Chief was something like the whole city is burning down,” say Reno Fire Chief Dave Cochran.

Chief Cochran says he was a captain during the Caughlin Fire. He was called in and sent with a crew for structure protection. He says he was struck at just how strong the winds were and how they pushed the fire down the canyon and up the hill to the fronts and back of houses.

“The single biggest, factor, the single biggest challenge in the fire service is wind,” says Cochran.” And that is not something in wild land fires. it is structure fires that is what the complicating factor is above all else,” he says. Cochran says a the Caughlin Fire changed the rules here in Northern Nevada.

There would be no fire season. Fire season would be all year long. And with high winds now comes fire crews on alert, ready to respond to another Caughln or Pinehaven Fire. That’s because it’s not if a fire will flare up in late fall when the wind blows...but when

More than 26 homes were destroyed, and one man died of a heart attack while attempting to evacuate the area.

Casse says the Caughlin Fire left her with many impressions. The random damage, some in the fire’s path, some of it blocks away was eye opening.

She now has an emergency bag ready with important documents, prescription medications and other important items she and her family will need if evacuated.

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