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Cooler weather helps crews fighting Reno wildfire

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POSTED May 20, 2014 6:52 p.m.

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Rain and snow falling Tuesday in the Sierra Nevada was a relief for crews trying to snuff out a wildfire on the edge of Reno. But the wet weather also brought challenges in the steep, slippery canyons northeast of Lake Tahoe that are prone to landslides.

No homes were in danger and no major injuries have been reported in the fire that has blackened more than a square mile. One firefighter suffered a minor eye injury, said Elizabeth Kenna, spokeswoman for the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center.

Fire suppression costs have reached $364,000.

With as much as a half-inch of rain expected Tuesday and snow falling at higher elevations, crews have been warned to be aware of falling rocks as they dig fire lines in the Mount Rose Wilderness above the foothills of southwest Reno.

“When rain comes down, it makes everything really slick,” Sierra Front spokesman Brian Reublinger told KRNV-TV. “You’ve got to watch out for your footing. You could have a chance of more rolling material.”

Containment of the fire jumped to 65 percent Tuesday afternoon, up from 5 percent Monday.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation. Fire officials said it likely was human caused because there was no lightning in the area when it was reported about 11 p.m. Saturday.

Cooler temperatures and lighter winds on Monday helped 150 firefighters on the ground and four helicopters begin to get the upper hand on the blaze.

An additional 100 firefighters joined the effort in the rugged wilderness Tuesday. Full containment was projected by Friday.

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