Nightly News   |  January 20, 2012

Reno fire: Thousands remain evacuated

More than two dozen homes burned in the blaze before firefighters brought it under control. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> a fast-moving wildfire in reno , nevada , burned more than two dozen homes tonight and forced thousands from their homes. miguel almaguer is on the scene.

>> reporter: driven by 82 mile-an-hour winds fueled by bone-dry brush, crews could do little to slow the 40- foot wall of flames surging towards reno . 26 homes engulfed in a the marry of hours.

>> those are hurricane-force winds. it was extremely difficult working conditions. visibility was next to nothing.

>> reporter: the moving inferno torched six square miles . 10,000 people had to evacuate. the vice president in town to campaign cut his visit short.

>> they just told me if i don't let you guys get out of here relatively soon, they're going to make you get out of here.

>> i can feel the heat.

>> it's really hot.

>> reporter: u.s. 395 was shut down. this couple was caught in the middle . they were lucky. behind them, no visibility. 13-car pile-up, several motorists were hospitalized. nevada 's governor declared a state of emergency . the national guard was called in, choking smoke and an erie orange sky could be seen for miles. this morning janice didn't know if her home of 12 years was spared.

>> you're numb. i was never this scared in my life and helpless.

>> our house is fine.

>> reporter: connie, one of the lucky ones .

>> i'm so sorry for some of my neighbors.

>> reporter: it hasn't rained here for 57 days, but finally, the weather become a friend. rain and snow are in the forecast. but for some, the damage is done. 26 houses destroyed while thousands of others wait to see if their home is still standing. miguel almaguer, nbc news, reno , nevada .