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The Reno Gazette-Journal, Liz Margerum) NEVADA APPEAL OUT; MAGS OUT; NO SALES, Associated Press
A house burns just south of the Old 395 Gas Station Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 in Washoe Valley, Nev. Winds gusting up to 82 mph pushed a fast-moving brush fire south of Reno out of control on Thursday as it burned several homes, threatened dozens more and forced more than 4,000 people to evacuate their neighborhoods.

RENO, Nev. — A wildfire burning near Reno has destroyed 26 houses, and the charred land increases the possibility of flooding with the start of what could be heavy rains.

The Washoe County sheriff says the fire moved very fast after it started shortly after noon Thursday, and crews did a good job of limiting the number of homes lost.

It grew to more than 6 square miles before firefighters stopped its surge toward Reno.

The cause isn't known. It started in a valley along U.S. Highway 395, which remains closed because of power lines on the road.

At one point, the flames got less than 100 yards from Galena High School, where Vice President Joe Biden spoke earlier Thursday.

Three nearby schools are closed Friday and about 200 customers are without electricity.