- Associated Press - Sunday, July 31, 2016

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A western Nevada wildfire was deterred Sunday from burning a tribal town that had evacuated hundreds of residents.

Scott Carey, spokesman for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, says the 11-square-mile blaze was now north of Sutcliffe and no longer threatening structures on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation. “We think the threat is gone, and we’re working toward a recovery effort,” Carey said.

About 600 people were ordered to leave Sutcliffe and 200 were evacuated from the beaches around Pyramid Lake on Saturday night, Carey said. Most evacuees stayed with family or friends in other parts of the reservation. Between 20 and 30 people took advantage of a shelter at a gym in the nearby community of Nixon.

The fire appeared to turn a corner early Sunday, Carey said. Crews have been monitoring structures and looking for any hot spots in the tribal area.

It could be as long as three days before people are allowed to return. There is no power, and the water and sewer systems are down, Carey said. Repairs will be done by Tuesday at the earliest.



The tribe has made a disaster declaration to free up resources from state and federal agencies.

Don Pelt, emergency response coordinator for the tribe, said Sunday night that the wildfire has destroyed three house, three mobile homes and two vehicles. Six out-buildings that were part of the historic Hardscrabble Ranch were also burned. No injuries were reported, however.

The blaze is one of five lightning-caused fires that officials are calling the Virginia Mountain Complex. All started late last week about 35 miles north of Reno and were burning within 20 miles of each other.

They have burned roughly 32 square miles, most of it federal land, fire spokeswoman Jesse Bender said. The entire fire complex was 10 percent contained as of Sunday morning. But some are much closer to full containment than others, Bender added.

Pelt said more than 200 ersonnel were involved in the fight against the blaze. He said that after gusty winds fueled the flames during the day Sunday, the fire showed signs of easing Sunday night. He said the all-out fight against the flames would resume early Monday morning. Resources include helicopters dropping water and two air tankers delivering retardant.

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