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Local crews respond to Reno fire

15 Placer strike teams sent across state border
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Editor
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Auburn-area fire crews were dispatched to help battle a 2,000-acre fire in Reno early Friday morning. At about 4:30 a.m., 15 engines and their crews of three to four firefighters from various Placer County stations responded to the blaze in Nevada that forced 10,000 to evacuate. The blaze, which was “largely contained” as of Friday evening, according to Associated Press reports, destroyed 32 homes in the Reno area, officials said Saturday. Auburn Fire Chief Mark D’Ambrogi, who is the regional coordinator for Region 4 of California’s Emergency Management Agency, said three local strike teams were sent a few hours after the fire started at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday. A strike team consists of five engines with three to four firefighters aboard each engine. Teams came from Auburn, Roseville, Rocklin and Newcastle fire departments. D’Ambrogi said Reno city’s emergency responders were quickly overwhelmed as strong winds fueled the fire. “They’re in a world of hurt so they said give us whatever you can as fast as you can,” D’Ambrogi said. D’Ambrogi said these types of fires late in the year are more typical in Southern California but not unheard of in Northern California. “I think it took everybody by surprise a little bit,” D’Ambrogi said. “We were talking about rain and snow this weekend and here we are fighting a wild land fire.” The Associated Press reported Friday that one firefighter was injured with first and second-degree burns. Also, as of Friday evening, snowfall was helping stop the widespread fire. About 100 Nevada National Guard members were helping local law enforcement evacuate the area, Associated Press reported. Most of the residents evacuated Friday were being allowed to return home Saturday afternoon. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who toured the area by helicopter?Saturday, called the 400 firefighters on the line heroes for saving more than 4,000 homes, according to the Associated Press. "When you see something like that, you can't help but be struck by the awesome and random power of nature," Sandoval said about the blackened path of the fire that snaked along the edge of the foothills, sometimes burning one home to the ground while neighboring houses on either side went untouched. "It is nothing short of a miracle the amount of homes that have been saved. We're right around the corner from Thanksgiving and I think we in this community have a lot to be thankful for." Reach Jenifer Gee at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia. com