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Fire at railroad tie yard in Hazen

North Lyon County Fire Protection District
Via Facebook

As of Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at 8:12 p.m., KUNR is no longer actively updating this blog. Several agencies have been providing updates on Facebook about this incident, including Churchill County and the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office.

3:53 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022

The fire at the railroad tie yard in Hazen still has active flames but Highway 50A is back open. According to the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook, fire crews will be monitoring the situation in case of radical shifts in the wind. Law enforcement officials are asking people nearby not to stop on the roadway to take pictures or to trespass in order to get a look at the fire.

The fire has sparked concern for the air quality in the area and the EPA is working to understand how harmful the smoke might be. The main concern for many near the fire is the railroad equipment, which has been treated with creosote. It’s a substance that has been known to be hazardous to humans and animals. Michael Brogan is with the Environmental Protection Agency and said that’s why the smoke seems so intense.

"It's a very thick, black grayish smoke that's been emanating from the scene,” Brogan said, “and with as with any smoke, inhaling smoke is not something that is beneficial to the human body.”

Most of the smoke plume is being blown into what’s called the 40-mile Desert north and east of Hazen.

The EPA has sent an environmental response team to work alongside local fire officials, and state and federal partners, as they continue to address what's left of the fire. Once they get a sample of the air they’ll be able to understand how harmful it can be.

11:10 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

Multiple agencies are battling a fire burning in the community of Hazen, Nevada, at the railroad tie yard. Multiple media outlets, including KOLO-TV, KRNV-TV, and Carson Now, are reporting that local emergency officials are asking anyone living within a half mile of the fire to evacuate.

Churchill County put an alert on Facebook Wednesday night asking residents to remain indoors. The alert said that “the smoke plume is moving west to east north of the city of Fallon” and people with breathing problems should be aware. Highway 50 in the area is closed and the county doesn’t have an estimate for when it may reopen.

Several agencies are providing updates on Facebook. They include Churchill County, the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Fernley, the City of Fallon, and the North Lyon County Fire Protection District. They are asking everyone to stay away from this dangerous area.

Check air quality in your area at fire.airnow.gov.

Gustavo Sagrero is a former bilingual reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.