Wildfire closes I-80 for 4 hours | SierraSun.com

Wildfire closes I-80 for 4 hours

Staff reports

More than 130 firefighters battled a fast-moving wildfire that forced the closure of U.S. Interstate 80 for about four hours on Friday, snarling traffic on the interstate around Truckee.

The fire was contained at an estimated 80 acres at around 6 p.m., according to Lance Noxon, division chief for the U.S. Forest Service’s Truckee and Sierraville Ranger Districts. No injuries were reported and no homes were threatened by the fire, which burned heavy brush in steep terrain, Noxon said.

The California and Nevada highway patrols shut down the interstate in both directions at the I-80-Highway 267 interchange in Truckee and west of Reno shortly after 3 p.m. and reopened the interstate at about 7p.m.

Firefighting efforts were hampered by winds gusting to 20 mph as the fire burned on both sides of the interstate along about a 2-mile stretch near Farad, Calif., about 10 miles southwest of Verdi, Nev.

An estimated 130 firefighters, an air tanker, helicopter and smoke jumpers were also called to fight the fire, Noxon said. But the helicopter and the smoke jumpers – airborne firefighters who parachute into fires – were not used because of strong winds.

“The fuel load was pretty high” in the fire area, Noxon said, adding that warm, dry spring conditions have firefighters prepared for the worst. “We’re not surprised because we monitor the conditions closely. The fuels out there are ready to burn.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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