Fires burn in northern and southern Nevada as winds fuel the flames

Emerald Fire 10/14/16 (CAL FIRE | MGN)

Nearly 20 homes have been destroyed in the Lake Tahoe area, consumed by a wind-whipped wildfire.

Among those burned, a home owned by Nye County brothel owner, Dennis Hof.

Washoe County officials have declared a state of emergency as firefighters try to get the flames under control. The fire has charred nearly two square miles in the Lake Tahoe Area.

RELATED | Fire south of Lake Tahoe forces 500 evacuations, closes Highway 89

The strong winds have meant no firefighting from the air. Those on the front lines will soon be getting more help from here in southern Nevada. A team of local firefighters on their way to lend a hand.

In southern Nevada, it's an example the U.S. Forest Service is using to teach a lesson to kids about fire safety.

In the past two months, they've teamed up with Smokey The Bear to visit some 50 schools in Clark County, including Selma Bartlett Elementary School in Henderson.

"How to put out their campfires, please pick up their trash," explained Ray Johnson with the U.S. Forest Service.

But while the sessions are generally planned for the end of the fire season, 2016 is different.

Overnight, northern Nevada exploded into flames. Hundreds of acres lost and mandatory evacuations near Lake Tahoe.

"It's unusual to have a fire that big that quickly spread this time of year," said Johnson.

Closer to home, more activity in our own mountains. A small fire near Mary Jane Falls that burned for well over a week is once again kicking smoke into the air.

Johnson says late Friday afternoon, another fire was spotted in the same area. The latest one is being called the October Fire, burning through three acres.

"We have a big advantage now compared to the middle of the summer because it gets cool at night, in the 30's, and it also gets shady later in the day," said Johnson.

Still, News 3 Meteorologist Kelly Curran points out that the wind is now an issue. A red flag warning, also known as a fire weather warning, is in effect.

"Basically what that means is we have low humidity in the area right now and were looking at gusty winds developing in the afternoon and evening hours, wind gusts of up to 35 miles per hour," said Curran.

It's a problem firefighters near Lake Tahoe are experiencing too. The flames delayed the special session in Carson City.

The fire up north is now such a concern that a 5-person task force from here in Southern Nevada is on the way to help. Personnel from the Forest Service, BLM, and the National Park Service. Local resources heading straight to the front lines.

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