Friday update: Nearly 200 firefighters are continuing mop up operations at the site of the Hawken wildfire near Caughlin Ranch on Reno's southwest side. Officials say the fire burned 278 acres and is 100% contained as of 3 pm. The cause of the fire that ignited on Wednesday is still under investigation.
Thursday update: The Hawken Fire is about 20 percent contained. Washoe County and the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District officials say the flames have charred about 300 acres of sagebrush and dry grass since Wednesday afternoon.
Authorities encouraged some residents in the Eagle's Nest subdivision to voluntarily evacuate when the fire got close to their neighborhood. But, the fire shifted directions and then people were allowed to go home. No buildings were damaged.
Doug Russell is the chief pilot for RAVEN, the aviation asset for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office that assists several other agencies. He's been flying a RAVEN helicopter to help drop almost 5,000 gallons of water on the blaze. He says the scene is in good shape now.
“I will tell you that after flying over the fire, it looks like it's pretty well knocked down,” Russell said. “I didn't see any active flame. There are hotspots that the ground crews are mopping up right now."
It could take days before it's considered fully contained because of the size of area. But, fire officials warn the fire could spread if the wind picks up again.
Fire Marshal Amy Ray is investigating the cause of the Hawken Fire. She has spoken to us in the past about fire prevention and says it really comes down to personal responsibility:
“We want you to be aware this summer when you’re out and about," Ray says. "Be careful and pay attention if you’re going shooting in an area where there is not a lot of vegetation, so that you don’t have that ability to start that large fire. Let’s pay attention if you’ve got a campfire or a barbeque. We need to work together as a community."
At the height of this emergency, 320 personnel and 33 engines were on scene.
8:30 pm Wednesday update: This is our final update for tonight. Residents who evacuated are now able to return home and Fire Chief Charles Moore has told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he no longer believes there is a great amount of risk to nearby structures, that there are no active flame fronts, and that the perimeter of the fire is smoldering. His crews are now working on creating a fire line between the homes and the blaze.
There are still many firefighters on the ground who will be monitoring the situation overnight and Moore said that without agencies coming together under their mutual aid agreement, this would have been an entirely different fire.
We'll provide updated coverage in the morning on 88.7 FM and you can find continuing updates tonight by following the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District on Twitter: @TMFPD.
6:15 pm Wednesday update: There's been a lot of confusion regarding the status of the #HawkenFire and Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is now reporting that the voluntary evacuations have not been lifted and the fire is 0 percent contained. The agency says that it will have an update at 7 pm for residents who have evacuated on whether it's safe to return to their homes.
5:10 pm Wednesday update: Truckee Meadows Fire has called off evacuations for the Hawken Fire. There are no longer active flames. The fire is still smoldering, but there is less of a threat to any structures in the area.
5:03 pm Wednesday update: Winds are currently up to 50 miles per hour in the Caughlin Ranch area, and the National Weather Service is forecasting that they won't die down until 7 or 8 pm tonight. Southwest winds are pushing the fire up the hill and east. So far the fire has burned 100 acres and is twenty-percent contained. Chief Charles Moore of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District says about 25 homes are at risk. There are currently no more voluntary evacuations
4:45 pm Wednesday update: About 100 people are working on the scene of the Hawken Fire, just west of Caughlin Ranch. The fire is burning 100 acres and is zero percent contained. Chief Charles Moore of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District says there are no mandatory evacuations right now, only voluntary. The fire got within 20 feet of a structure, but is now closer to 100 yards away. Crews are experiencing wind gusts of up to 60 mph in this area, prohibiting firefighting aircraft. Winds gusts are expected to last through 11 p.m.
4:00 pm Wednesday update: Reno firefighters are battling a 100-acre brushfire near Caughlin Ranch and some residents have been required to leave the area by the Reno Police Department.
The blaze was first reported around 1:45 this afternoon and its burning near the area of Caughlin Ranch Boulevard and Cashill Road in west Reno.
Tim Broadway, a spokesman for the Reno Police, says despite the wind, containment could be quick and he's hoping residents can return to their homes today.
"Hopefully with the cool temperatures the fire crews will be able to get in there and contain it as much as possible to protect the residents," Broadway said. "We are hoping for the best and hopefully we'll have this under containment and people can return to their homes in the next couple of hours."
The Reno Gazette Journal reports at least five homes in the Eagles Nest subdivision have been evacuated....but they are working to get residents to leave about 100 homes near the fire.
Truckee Meadows Fire protection chief Charles Moore says the top priority now is to keep structures safe.
Caughlin Parkway is also closed leading into the subdivision. NV Energy is reporting close to 300 customers without power.
The evacuees have been sent to Reno High School.