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Thousands flee as high winds fuel blaze near Reno

James Glover II / Reuters

Crew members from the Nevada Department of Forestry work to control the Washoe Drive fire near a home in Washoe City, Nevada, on Jan. 19, 2012. The wind-driven fire raged through parched brush near Reno, Nevada, on Thursday, engulfing a number of homes, and prompting residents and livestock to flee by the thousands as belching smoke from the blaze forced the closure of a major highway.

James Glover II / Reuters

A home along Highway 395 stands in the path of the Washoe Drive fire in Washoe City on Jan. 19, 2012.

NBC News, msnbc.com staff and news services report: 

 Firefighters worked early Friday to hold the line on a fast-moving brush fire that tore through the Reno area, destroying more than 20 homes and forcing thousands of residents to flee.

The blaze started shortly after noon Thursday and, fueled by wind gusts reaching 82 mph, mushroomed to more than 6 square miles in size before firefighters stopped its surge toward Reno. Read the full story.

See earlier pictures of the fire on PhotoBlog.

A raging wildfire burning near Reno, Nev., has forced thousands of people from their homes and is blamed for at least one death. NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.