Reno fire destroys more than 20 homes, kills one (VIDEO)

A brush fire that is sweeping through the Reno area has destroyed at least 20 homes and killed one person, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The fire has swallowed more than 3,700 acres and thousands of residents have been forced to flee, a Washoe County spokeswoman said on Friday, the LA Times reported. The fire began shortly after noon on Thursday and has been fueled by wind gusts reaching 82 mph, the Associated Press reported.

"The fire moved very, very fast," Washoe County Sheriff Mike Haley said, the AP reported. "Firefighters did an enormously good job of holding the number of structures down to 26."

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While the forecast predicts snow and rain, which would help put out the flames, it could also increase the chance of flooding on the charred land. The Reno area has gone more than 50 days without precipitation, the LA Times reported. The cause of the fire is still unknown, although it started along nearby US Highway 395.

An 8-mile portion of Highway 395, which is the main north-south route from Reno to Carson City, capital of Nevada, was closed in both directions due to reduced visibility from the smoke, Reuters reported. The heat has destroyed some of the guardrails, which will need to be replaced, Chris Perry of the Department of Public Safety told the AP.

Officials Say 32 Homes Destroyed in Reno Fire

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More than 10,000 people have left their homes during the height of the fire and about 2,000 people are still under evacuation orders, the AP reported. The National Guard said at least 700 people were expected to take part in fighting the blaze on Friday, which spread to Reno’s outskirts Thursday night. Officials have said at least 800 homes were saved from the fire, despite losing at least 26, the LA Times reported.

A similar fire hit Reno in November, destroying about 30 homes and forcing 10,000 people to evacuate.

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