Tamarack Fire at about 40,000 acres, burning in multiple directions

Staff Report
A map of the Tamarack Fire shows the blaze burning in three different directions. (Provided /

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Tamarack Fire has grown to more than 39,000 acres and officials said the uncontained blaze has split and is burning in multiple directions.

At a briefing for residents on Monday, Alpine Fire Chief Terry Hughes said that fire is burning in two directions toward Monitor and into the Burnside Lake Area.

“We are 100% focused on stopping this fire,” Alpine Sheriff Rick Stephens said.

Stephens thanked residents for their cooperation in the evacuations.

“All of you did a fabulous job and got out of harm’s way,” he said.

Firefighters worked through the night and continued to mop up around Markleeville. Ground crews were assisted by helicopters and single-engine air tankers dropped retardant on Hawkins Peak to protect communications towers.

Officials said the northeast portion of the fire remains a priority.

Fire mapping shows the fire has grown to about 42,000 acres and is moving in three directions, to the northeast towards the state line, to the northwest near Woodfords and Hope Valley and south toward Highway 4.

Wind from the thunderstorms increased fire activity, moving the fire toward the California-Nevada state line and U.S. Highway 395. Firefighters are working to prevent the blaze from impacting the highway and surrounding areas. They are also working to construct a line along the northwest flank to limit spread to the north towards Highway 88 and Carson Canyon.

An effort to get a more accurate acreage and location of the fire failed on Monday due to heavy smoke and afternoon thunderstorms that brought a small amount of rain.

Evacuations were ordered on Monday for two communities on the opposite ends of the blaze, the Blue Lakes Road and Mesa Vista Areas.

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

Highway 89 is closed at the intersection of Highway 4 and 89. Highway 4 is open west of the Highway 89 and Highway 4 junction.

The amount of structures lost remains a mystery with reports from different agencies all over the map, from six to 10.

The Forest Service planned to send an evaluation team into the area to confirm the number of structures destroyed and damaged.

Officials said temperatures are expected to warm over the coming days and wind gusts could reach up to 25 mph.

Kurt Hildebrand of the Record Courier contributed to this report.

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