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Huge Fire At Tesla Nevada Gigafactory

A Huge Fire At the Tesla Nevada Gigafactory is bringing tears to Elon Musk’s eyes! The highly explosive lithium ion batteries in Elon Musk’s factory emit cancer-causing fumes when they are on fire and this could create horrific statewide hazards.

The Fire has grown to 800 acres, Storey County manager Pat Whitten said. Containment remains at 0 percent.

Whitten said additional resources, including extra brush engines, three dozers and more hand crews, have been requested to augment the 70 crew members already working. Air operations have been suspended due to darkness, he said.

9:15 p.m. update: 

Firefighters were battling a 750-acre wildfire that erupted near USA Parkway east of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, according to the Storey County Fire Protection District.

The Shooting Range Fire was burning through grassy hills, and it was 0 percent contained as of 9 p.m. Wednesday. No injuries were reported, and no structures were threatened.

Crews responded to the scene at about 5:25 p.m. in the area near the end of the pavement on USA Parkway, behind the Tesla gigafactory, Storey County manager Pat Whitten said.

By 8:45 p.m., an air tanker was used to make the last drop, he said.

“It’s burning through light but flashy fuels,” Whitten said. “There are no juniper or pinyon trees to really fuel it, but grass helps it spread fast. It’s obviously moving fast if it gained that much momentum.”

Crews were using one air tanker to drop retardant on the fire, and Storey County Fire Protection District requested more help from other agencies.

“The concern we have right now is that it’s burning into an area that is difficult for equipment to access,” Whitten said late Wednesday afternoon. “We have to rely on air drops right now, and the winds are getting more erratic.

“The fire is spotting and changing direction to some degree.”

Storey County ground crews will remain on scene battling the blaze through the night, Whitten said. Meanwhile, air support will cease.

“It was burning well into open space area, grazing areas if you will, and toward the canyon,” Whitten said when asked if crews were concerned structures would catch fire overnight. “We’re comfortable at this stage that the answer to that question is no, but wildfires take on a behavior of their own.”

“The most difficult points are how you get access to these areas to put it out,” he said. “The focus is on creating fire breaks… and pushing the fire back where it has already burned.”

Ames Construction, which was contracted to build the USA Parkway extension, was coordinating with fire crews to mobilize several large dozer to be used to cut through containment lines, Whitten said.

“The fire will get larger before we can get any containment,” Whitten said.

“Winds have a tendency to lay down a little bit at night, and we have resources out there to address it.”

Crews from Storey County Fire Protection District, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, Sparks Fire Department, Reno Fire Department and north and central Lyon County were on scene. That includes crews from the Nevada Division of Forestry.

8:15 p.m. update: 

The Shooting Range Fire has grown to 700 acres with 0 percent containment, according to Storey County manager Pat Whitten.

“It’s burning in a very difficult area to access,” Whitten said.

Storey County ground crews will remain on scene battling the blaze through the night, Whitten said. Meanwhile, air support will cease as it gets darker.

8:05 p.m. update: 

The Shooting Range Fire burning near USA Parkway has grown to 450 to 500 acres since the fire sparked nearly three hours ago.

The fire is burning through grass fuels, and it still 0 percent contained, Storey County manager Pat Whitten said early Wednesday evening.

“It’s burning through light but flashy fuels,” Whitten said. “There are no juniper or pinyon trees to really fuel it, but grass helps it spread fast. It’s obviously moving fast if it gained that much momentum.”

Crews are using one air tanker to drop retardant on the fire, and Storey County Fire Protection District requested more help from other agencies.

“The concern we have right now is that it’s burning into an area that is difficult for equipment to access,” Whitten said. “We have to rely on air drops right now, and the winds are getting more erratic.

“The fire is spotting and changing direction to some degree.”

No injuries were reported and no structures were threatened.

“The fire will get larger before we can get any containment,” Whitten said.

“The contractor of USA Parkway has substantial heavy equipment that they were using as they build the roadway,” he said. “They mobilized two large dozers to coordinate with firefighters to cut through containment lines.”

7:23 p.m. update: 

Firefighters are still battling a blaze that grew to 150 acres on a hillside in the eastern side of the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center near USA Parkway, according to the Storey County Fire Protection District.

The Shooting Fire was moving north by northwest toward the hills from the end of pavement on USA Parkway, Storey County manager Pat Whitten said. The fire was not contained.

Although the fire is burning toward the hills, winds are still a concern.

“Winds are always a concern, but if we have one air unit out there, then it’s not a significant concern,” Storey County manager Pat Whitten said.

“It’s burning outside the Tesla area, but obviously that would be a huge significant concern should there be a shift in patterns.

“Winds have a tendency to lay down a little bit at night, and we have resources out there to address it.”

No one was hurt, and no structures were threatened as of early Tuesday evening.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known and under investigation.

6:50 p.m. update: 

Firefighters are still battling a wildfire that grew from two-and-a-half acres up to 30 acres within 40 minutes in an area near USA Parkway, according to Storey County Fire Protection District.

The fire was reported at about 5:25 p.m. Wednesday at the end of the pavement on USA Parkway near a shooting range area, Storey County manager Pat Whitten said.

“It’s harder to estimate unless you fly over it with a drone,” Whitten said.

The Shooting Range Fire was burning up to the top of a hill and moving down, Whitten said.

“We now have a number of resources on scene,” Whitten said. “We requested one air support unit from Stead, which is en route.”

No injuries were reported and no structures were threatened as of 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Whitten said.

Crews from Storey County Fire Protection District, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, Sparks Fire Department, Reno Fire Department and north and central Lyon County were on scene. That includes crews from the Nevada Division of Forestry.

Resources include hand crews, brush engines and a dozer, which was en route from Lockwood, Whitten said.

6:08 p.m. update: 

Storey County firefighters are responding to a report of a 10-acre wildfire near USA Parkway.

Smoke was reported at about 5:25 p.m. Wednesday along the highway, according to the Storey County Fire Protection District.

Crews were responding to the Shooting Range Fire. That includes crews from Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. Nevada Highway Patrol was also responding for traffic control, according to dispatch.

Details on the fire were not immediately available.

Check with RGJ for more updates as they become available.

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