Fire & Ice Again in Northern Nevada

I’ve been writing about resiliency, hope and optimism in this blog weaving in real life stories.  Here is another example of how our routine lives can suddenly be changed forever.  Here’s what happened.

Fire . . . just when we thought Northern Nevada was through with its share of community crises another huge wild fire hit Reno last Thursday afternoon, January 19th. The winds were blowing at 80 miles an hour with gusts of over 100 miles an hour – not terribly unusual for our upper desert.  But one accidental spark over in Washoe Valley was enough to begin a fire that burned 3,700 acres of rugged sagebrush; ranch land, horse pastures and 20+ houses.

As a wall of fire crested the ridge right above our local high school and just down from our house my husband and I zipped over to help our good friend, Yvonna Estep, evacuate her home.  Within minutes Yvonna, along with all her neighbors, was packing up her dog, cats and personal belongings into her car as the police were going door to door enforcing the mandatory evacuation.  We left a hastily scribbled note on the door saying the house had been evacuated – important for the final sweep.  As for us there was no time to waste . . .

Ice . . . the irony was that it was snowing so hard on the Donner Summit that it was difficult for the California Interstate Fire Services to make it over the mountains to help Reno.  After all, fire trucks usually don’t carry snow chains.  I never heard the end of the story but I’m sure they finally made it – they always do.

So later that night, over a glass of wine, we huddled around the news to learn that temperatures had dropped and with the beginning of a snowstorm down here in the valley the fire was being contained.  It took another full 24 hours for the highway between Reno and Carson City to be reopened up for local residents to return to their homes.  When I drove through on Sunday morning the rebuilding had already begun.

This is our 5th major community crisis for Northern Nevada in as many months.  We’ve been on national news too many times.  But no doubt Nevada is resilient and will rebuild.  That’s hope and optimism.  And there’s truly never a dull moment in Northern Nevada.


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