Thursday, June 25, 2015

[californiadisasters] UPDATE: Markleeville Fire Grows, Smoke Impacts Nevada

10% containment on fire near Markleeville

11 p.m. update.

The fire has burned 17,205 acres and is 10 percent contained.

Highways 4 and 89 in the Monitor and Ebbetts Pass areas remain closed.

7:06 p.m. update.

The wildfire has grown to 26 square miles (16,543 acres) in hazardous and inaccessible terrain south of Lake Tahoe and is moving closer to structures, officials said.

No buildings have been damaged, but the mountain town of Markleeville remained on standby Wednesday for possible evacuations, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Several campgrounds have been evacuated, and two highways have been closed.

The fire, ignited by lightning Friday, was 10 percent contained by Wednesday evening.

Air tankers and helicopters helped 900 firefighters battle the blaze about 20 miles west of the Nevada border.

Strong, erratic winds and severe drought conditions have stoked the fire, and smoke can be seen as far away as Carson City.

2:30 p.m. Wednesday update:

Wind is expected to blow some smoke into the Carson Valley overnight, but not be enough to decrease visibility. As temperatures warm in the morning, the smoke will clear, the National Weather Service said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Fire is still estimated to be 5 percent contained and burning 16,553 acres.

Original update:

The Washington Fire burning near the California mountain town of Markleeville is 5 percent contained, now burning 16,553 acres, authorities said.

The fire was first ignited by a lightning strike 20 miles west of the Nevada border and a combination of dry conditions and wind helped the fire grow.

Fighting the blaze were about 500 personnel, along with 11 helicopters, eight air tankers and 17 engines.

Five residences are threatened and evacuated and 15 historic cabins are threatened, according to the Sierra Front dispatch center in Minden.

No structures have been damaged, but Markleeville remained on standby for possible evacuations Tuesday. Several campgrounds have been evacuated.

On Monday night, a section of the fire that was headed northwest toward Markleeville took a turn and headed west. A smoke advisory was in effect in the Carson Valley area until 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Highway 89 over Monitor Pass remain closed at U.S. 395. California Highway 4 is closed, and Turtle Rock and Indian Creek campgrounds are shut down. All visitors and campers from Wolfcreek to the top of Ebbitts Pass have been evacuated. Markleeville remained on standby for possible evacuations.

One firefighter had a heat-related injury but was treated and is recovering.

Strong erratic winds and severe drought conditions have stoked the fire that was ignited by lightning.

Smoke from the fire is not expected to affect the Reno-area today. General haze may be visible this afternoon from light winds pushing smoke towards Reno, but there will not be enough to decrease visibility or cause medical concern, the National Weather Service said.



Posted by: Kim Noyes <>

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