Boy, this sure turned out to be some week, didn’t it? And not in a good way.
The week started out well enough. On Monday our months-long dry spell was finally broken when snow fell in the capital city. It was one of our stereotypical storms where it falls and melts all in the same day, but it did mark the first precipitation we’ve had since October, I believe. It ended a record-breaking drought, the longest wintertime drought we’ve had in quite some time, and the first December with no moisture since the 1800s. So a little bit of snow was a welcome sight.
I spotted this tree carving along Curry St, at Rupert’s Auto Body. I’ll have to keep an eye on it; looks like it should be interesting when it’s all finished.
Thursday started out ordinary enough. The winds were blowing hard enough to send small dogs skittering down the street, but that’s nothing new around here. In the afternoon, though, a small fire sparked at the north end of the Washoe Valley. Normally a little fire in a flat field would not be a problem for the local fire departments. Fires like that are sparked and put out all the time. But with the brush dry from a prolonged drought, and the high winds whipping around, the fire got out of control before anyone could get there. Within minutes the fields were fully engulfed, and it blew through the housing developments in Washoe City before heading up and over the hill into Pleasant Valley. The time that it took to go from tiny spark to raging wildfire was a matter of hours. It ravaged Pleasant Valley, and by this time the highway had been closed down and nearly every firefighting resource in the area had been called in. It wasn’t until later that night, after the wind died down a little and a light rain fell, that they got any kind of control over the fire. And it wasn’t until Saturday that they got it contained and reopened the road. The final count was 3,177 acres and 29 structures lost, most of that in the first 8 hours. Before they finally got it under control it had crested the mountains and was on its way down into Reno, threatening the Galena area. Luckily firefighters were able to stop it there. It’s pretty wild to have such huge fires so late in the season. Normally the major fires are over by September. This year, though, the summer was calm and the major fires were in November and January, with a few smaller ones along the way like the one off Deer Run Road three weeks ago. What a strange winter we’ve had so far, and it’s not even over yet.