California Washington Fire Threatens Markleeville

California Washington Fire Threatens Markleeville
By Jack Freer  |  Posted June 23, 2015  |  Markleeville, California

The lightning caused Washington Fire continues to burn south of Markleeville, California and has grown to 16,490 acres. The tactical priority is to prevent the fire from reaching Markleeville.

The fire is being managed by a Great Basin Incident Management Team. Initial attack efforts began Friday, June 19, at 7 p.m. There are now 951 personnel assigned to the fire utilizing 12 helicopters, 10 air tankers, 50 engines, 12 water tenders, 27 hand crews and overhead staff. The containment now stands at 15%.

Several campgrounds along Highway 4 close to Markleeville have been evacuated. Highways 4 and 89 in the Monitor Pass area are closed as is the Turtle Rock and Indian Creek campgrounds.

Markleeville residences have been advised to prepare for an evacuation and remain under an evacuation advisory issued by the  Alpine County Sheriff’s Office, but no mandatory evacuation is in effect.

Firefighters plan to continue to fight the fire north of Highway 89, as well as utilizing air and ground support. The only injury to firefighters has been one minor heat-related incident.

The Incident Command Post and the Fire Camp have been established at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Gardnerville, Nevada located 30 miles from the fire. Early morning activities at the fire camp consisted of firefighter briefings, stocking and preparing fire engines, staging engines to depart for the fire and a final check of water tenders also preparing to go to the fire area.

Markleeville is an extremely popular summer tourist destination for all kinds of outdoor recreation. Most summer mornings would find the cafes, stores, art shops and coffee houses filled with visitors. This morning the smoky heart of the town was more like a ghost town with only a couple residents outside the post office talking about the fire. The café was open but did not have any customers at the time. Highway 89 is closed just south of the café at the edge of town.

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