Crews containing Reno's wildfire; storms expected

The Associated PressJuly 16, 2014 

— Fire crews have the upper hand on a lightning-sparked wildfire near Reno, but the forecast calls for more thunderstorms that could bring new fire threats as well as flooding along the Sierra's eastern front.

About 120 firefighters remained on the lines Wednesday evening at the blaze that has burned just over a square mile, or 700 acres, of brush and grass on U.S. Forest Service land near U.S. Highway 395 at Bordertown, just northwest of Reno.

No injuries have been reported and no structures are threatened.

The fire started in the high desert near the agricultural inspection station at the Nevada-California line at about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.

It was estimated to be 20 percent contained Wednesday evening with full containment expected by 11 p.m. Thursday, said Elizabeth Kenna, spokeswoman for the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center.

"All forward progress on the fire has been halted," she said.

A smoky haze wafted into Reno, but Washoe County officials said the air quality remained good.

More thunderstorms with the potential to pack lightening are on the way, according to the National Weather Service. A flash flood watch has been extended through Friday for Reno, Lake Tahoe, Carson City and parts of Douglas, Story, Lyon and Mineral counties in Nevada, as well Mono and Alpine counties in California.

"Abundant moisture, instability and light winds aloft will produce slow moving thunderstorms with heavy rain," the weather service said. "Heavy rain may also lead to rock and mud slides near steep terrain."

The biggest threat of flooding is in an area stretching from Pyramid Lake, about 30 miles north of Reno, to Hawthorne, about 120 miles south of Reno, the service said. A storm-induced mudslide on Tuesday temporarily closed part of Nevada Highway 359 about 6.5 miles south of Hawthorne.

The unstable weather comes on the heels of record-breaking heat that sent the mercury soaring above the 100 mark across much of northern Nevada, even pushing into the rarely-seen 90s at Lake Tahoe.

The 42-year-old record high of 90 degrees was tied on Tuesday at South Lake Tahoe, California, where it reached a record 92 degrees on Monday. Truckee, California, set a record Monday at 98 degrees.

Reno reported record highs of 103 on Sunday and 105 on Monday, and fell 1 degree shy of the record 103 on Tuesday.

The heat also helped set a northern Nevada record for power usage on a single day.

NV Energy's 327,000 customers in northern Nevada cranked up the air conditioners Monday and consumed 1,761 megawatts of electricity. That broke the previous single-day record of 1,743 megawatts set on July 17, 2007.

NV Energy spokeswoman Faye Anderson said the utility actually borrowed electricity for the first time ever from southern Nevada, which was unusually a bit cooler than the north with the high in Las Vegas on Monday reaching 101.

Near normal temperatures are expected to return by the weekend, the weather service said.

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