RENO, Nev. (AP) — Authorities lifted evacuation orders Wednesday and reopened a U.S. highway along the Sierra’s eastern front as firefighters continued to slow the progress of a northern Nevada wildlfire that has burned through 31 square miles (80 square kilometers) near the California line.
The fire that had threatened as many as 1,000 homes in Douglas County after it broke out Monday night in the Pinenut Mountains about 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Gardnerville was estimated to be 5% contained.
It has destroyed three homes and 37 outbuildings, but no injuries have been reported, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said.
A 16-mile (26-kilometer) stretch of U.S. Highway 395 was reopened after state transportation officials replaced a mile of burned guardrail. All but one small evacuation order was lifted.
The agency appealed for tips from the public as it investigates the cause of the fire that broke out about 7 p.m. Monday. It asked for anyone who traveled U.S. 395 between Gardnerville and the Nevada-California line that day between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The California Highway Patrol reported that Nevada authorities were looking for a vehicle that might have been dragging something causing sparks on the highway, according to The (Gardnerville) Record-Courier.
More than 500 firefighters were battling the blaze in mostly grass, sage brush and small pines southeast of Lake Tahoe.
Evacuation centers were set up Monday night and Tuesday at motels and Douglas County Fairgrounds was opened as a temporary shelter for livestock and other animals, including about 100 falcons brought there by a breeder from Fish Springs, the Record-Courier reported.