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Pinehaven Fire expected to be contained by Friday

By Jeri Davis
Pinehaven Fire in Reno, Nevada on Nov. 17, 2020. Image: Trevor Bexon / This Is Reno.

The Pinehaven Fire started nine years to the day after the last massive fire in Reno’s Caughlin Ranch neighborhood.

Fire officials said the fire will likely not be fully contained until Friday, though it is no longer raging through the brush surrounding the hillside neighborhoods of southwest Reno. It was fueled by extremely high winds.

Reno Fire Department Chief David Cochran said that he will be able to update the containment percentage figure later today after he’s walked the perimeter of the fire—which, for now, is being estimated at about 1,200 acres. Roads in the area are expected to reopen sometime this afternoon. For now, residents of the affected area are being allowed to walk in to obtain necessary supplies from their homes and survey damage. 

The fire started about 1 p.m. on Nov. 17 close to the intersection of Pinehaven Road and Sierra Pine Drive. It forced the evacuation of some 1,300 homes, including the homes of Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve and her family.

“My sister and my mother and myself—we were kind of all frantic like everyone else was,” Schieve said of yesterday’s evacuations. “I’m in quarantine, so I wasn’t able to help to the magnitude that I’m normally able to do so. … It was very stressful, but it pales in comparison to the people who lost their belongings and their homes.”

According to Cochran, five homes were destroyed in the fire and at least another 15 structures were damaged. This information will also be updated later today.

However, it will be weeks before the fire department is able to release estimates on the cost of the fire, including those related to property damage, the destruction of natural resources and firefighting costs.

About 30 firefighting apparatus were on the scene of the fire, as were nearly 200 firefighters. These included not only RFD personnel, but also personnel from the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, the Bureau of Land Management and Lake Tahoe strike teams, as well as firefighters from Cal Fire.

Both Mayor Schieve and Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak declared states of emergency.

According to Cochran, the cause of the fire has also not been determined. He called the fire a “mirror image” of the Caughlin Ranch fire of 2011.

City of Reno Spokesperson Jon Humbert said, “I cannot emphasize enough how much people need to be careful,” noting that major fires in the region have happened not just in fall but also in the middle of winter.

Fire has become a year-round issue in the region, officials said.

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