Tamarack Fire uncontained at 39k acres

Wildfire Watch

ALPINE COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — The lightning-caused Tamarack Fire continued to grow uncontained Tuesday.

The fire, which started July 4 near the small town of Markleeville, has burned an estimated 39,045 acres, with no containment by late Monday evening.

The fire has destroyed at least 10 structures, authorities said.

An effort to accurately map the fire on Monday was hampered by heavy smoke and afternoon thunderstorms, the U.S. Forest Service said. Wind from those storms pushed the fire to the northeast, toward the California-Nevada state line and the Highway 395 corridor.

Crews will focus a lot of their attention Tuesday on the flames closest to the state line, “looking for options for direct and indirect fireline construction that will prevent further movement to the east,” wrote Incident Commander Dan Dallas.

“Along Hwy 395, a structure protection group will be conducting structure assessments and doing structure preparation where needed in the event the fire makes another push to the east and impacts the area,” Dallas wrote.

Douglas County officials have warned residents in several communities to get ready to leave due to the fire.

Caltrans reports Highway 88 is closed from Picketts Junction to the state line. Earlier in the day, the California Highway Patrol said the fire was “getting dangerously close” to the roadway.

U.S. Forest Service officials said Monday, fire crews will keep mopping up hot spots around Markleeville to protect the town from the flames.

By 3:15 p.m. Monday, what appeared to be a pyrocumulus cloud had formed over the fire. The giant “fire clouds” hold ash and particles from the fire below.

Evacuations are still in place for hundreds of people in Markleeville, Grover Hot Springs and the campground area, Shay Creek, Marklee Village, Alpine Village, Woodfords, East Fork Resort and the community of Hung A Lel Ti.

By Monday afternoon, CHP officials said evacuations were underway for Mesa Vista, Blue Lakes Road and the Charity Valley area off Highway 88.

An evacuation shelter has been set up at the Douglas County Community and Senior Center on 1329 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville, Nevada.

Greg Vander Zanden says his home in the area was destroyed in a fire in 2007.

When he heard about this fire picking up, he left the Bay Area to come make sure his new home here hadn’t met the same fate and said it’s okay for the moment.

“I mean as the bird flies it’s probably only 6 or 7 miles from where our house is again,” Vander Zanden said. “I feel really bad for other people. I mean I’ve been through it and I know how it feels a very sinking feeling.”

The CHP said there are closures at the intersection of Highway 88 and Highway 89 in Woodfords, Diamond Valley Road and Highway 88, and Highway 89 at the intersection of Highway 4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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