Coleville, Walker evacuated due to 6,500-acre Slink Fire, Highway 395 closed |

Coleville, Walker evacuated due to 6,500-acre Slink Fire, Highway 395 closed

Kurt Hildebrand /
A Slink Fire has forced the evacuations of Coleville and Walker on Highway 395.

Coleville and Walker have been evacuated in the path of the Slink Fire, which has also closed Highway 395 between Topaz and Eastside lanes, according to the Mono County Sheriff’s Office. The fire has grown to 6,500 acres and is threatening the towns.

Evacuees have been directed to the Topaz Lodge in southern Douglas County.

Due to the spreading fire in northern Mono County, Highway 395 is now closed from Topaz Lane to 8.5 miles south at Eastside Lane in Walker, according to the California Department of Transportation.

“The highway is expected to be closed overnight and because of the nature of the fire, it is currently unknown when Caltrans will be able to reopen it,” California highways officials said Monday evening. “Motorists heading north to Nevada or Monitor Pass should seek an alternate route to their destination.”

Two East Fork Fire brush trucks and two water tenders responded to Coleville to conduct structure protection for the Mono County town. 

East Fork Battalion Chief Scott Fraser is incident commander for the 5,200-acre Slink fire burning in Slinkard Valley just west of Coleville and Walker.

Fire tankers dropped retardant on the fires eastern flank to keep it from burning toward the town as firefighters on the north end of the fire built a line.

Gusty winds and lower humidity were an issue on Monday afternoon and evening as the fire burned into inaccessible terrain with heavy fuel.

Firefighters have a line around 5% of the north end of the blaze. 

Most of the smoke from the fire is heading due west toward Hawthorne according to AirNow.

Smoke in Carson Valley is coming from the California fires burning north of Sacramento.

An air gauge in Johnson Lane reported an air quality index of 152, which is in unhealthy levels, according to The Gardnerville Ranchos gauge reported unhealthy air quality levels for sensitive groups.

Minden-Tahoe Airport reported visibility of 3 miles starting at 5:15 p.m. 

Forecasters predict smoke could be cleared tonight by a northeasterly wind into Tuesday and even Wednesday. Smoke levels will be higher near current fires, such as the Slink Fire.

“Smoke trends later in the week are highly uncertain,” forecasters said in a statement issued on Monday. “Fire activity will heavily influence smoke density. It’s probably a good idea to plan on at least some haze through the upcoming weekend.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.