Farad Fire causes more delays on I-80 near Truckee and Lake Tahoe
John Willard didn’t expect to spend much time in Verdi, Nevada, but on Tuesday morning, July 11, Nevada Highway Patrol officers were turning drivers around as a few pieces of ash fell from the smoked-filled sky.
Truckers, boaters, campers, and anyone else hoping to head west on Interstate 80 from Reno were held up at the Gold Ranch Casino and RV Resort Tuesday morning as Nevada Highway Patrol officers held traffic while crews continued to battle the Farad Fire.
The fire, 20 percent contained as of late Tuesday afternoon, had consumed 670 acres of grass, sagebrush and timber since it began on the side of Interstate 80 on Monday, July 10.
“The fire started at about 1 o’clock. By 3 o’clock it was really bad, and that’s when they closed the highway,” Willard said. “We were given notice that we may have to evacuate.”
Willard and his wife had been traveling and camping in their RV when they stopped to stay at Gold Ranch. They had plans to continue heading west, but are currently stuck in Verdi with the rest of the visitors, trying to decide whether to wait it out or find an alternate route.
“We were hoping to make it to a wedding, but now I’m not sure that’s going to happen,” he said.
Rows of parked semi-trucks lined the highway, nearby roads and parking lots near Gold Ranch as a pilot vehicle guided the new arrivals to additional space. Drivers of smaller cars gathered around the resort’s gas station to ask officers for information and watch the cloud of smoke climb over the ridge.
A Nevada Highway Patrol officer who was directing traffic said that it is unknown when the road will be reopened, and that the highway is currently being used to bring in equipment and fire personnel to control the blaze.
Amanda Rhoades is a news, environment and business reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2653. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @akrhoades.