Wildfire burning near Markleeville

Photo courtesy USFS
Press Release/USFS

The Washington Fire (caused by a hold-over lightning strike reignited with recent strong winds) is burning 8-10 miles south of Markleeville, CA. The fire is being managed by Type 2 Great Basin Incident Management Team 4. Fire size has been updated to be 16,543 acres. Initial attack efforts began on Friday June 19 at around 7:00 p.m. There are approximately 12 helicopters, 8 air tankers (including two DC-10's available in the area), 19 engines, 10 water tenders, and 19 crews, making a total of approximately 681 personnel assigned to the fire. The current containment now is 5%.

Several campgrounds along Highway 4 to the north end of Markleeville have been evacuated. In addition, Highways 4 and 89 in the Monitor Pass area are closed. Turtle Rock and Indian Creek campgrounds are closed. As a precaution, Markleeville residences have been advised to prepare for an evacuation if the need arises, however, no mandatory evacuations are in effect for Markleeville at this time.

One minor heat-related injury occurred. Once removed from the fireline, the firefighter was treated and is doing fine.

Firefighters plan to continue direct line construction north of Highway 89, as well as utilizing air and ground support. Continuing protection of cultural and historical sites within, and adjacent to the fire area will also be addressed in today's operational period. The tactical priority is to prevent the fire from reaching Markleeville, CA.

Today's weather is expected to be sunny and hazy, 81-85 degrees. Winds up slope/up valley at 5-10 mph. Ridge top winds are expected to be light in the morning. Vegetation is feeling the stress from over three years cumulative drought and historically low snow-pack in the mountains this past winter.

Smoke is dispersing to various areas surrounding the fire. Use precaution when driving, keeping in mind that visibility could be limited. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/ for information regarding the potential effects of wildfire smoke.

Update June 23 3:40 p.m. Attention - The section of highway 89 from Woodford's junction is and has been open to the south end of Markleeville. Just to clarify, the section that remains closed begins at the south end of Markleeville.