A large wildfire caused by a lightning strike is burning south of Lake Tahoe near the town of Markleeville, according to the Great Basin Geographic Area Coordination Center.
The fire was estimated at 350 acres Saturday but grew to 6,500 acres by 4 p.m. Sunday. By Monday 1:15 p.m., the fire burned 9,500 acres. Then, by 9:30 p.m., the fire grew to 14,942 acres.
"The extreme fire activity being witnessed with the Washington Fire is primarily due to strong erratic winds and severe drought conditions. These two variables also played a role in firefighting efforts for both air and ground support," Carson City Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said.
Fire officials said the wildfire is moving north, but there is a subdivision consisting of 200 homes around 13 miles south of the flames.
Markelleville and surrounding areas were advised to prepare for evacuation, the National Weather Service in Reno tweeted, although no evacuation order has been announced currently. Crews are focusing their efforts on the northwest flank of the fire in an effort to protect the town of Markleeville, the BLM said Monday.
Currently, Highway 89 Monitor Pass is closed at Highway 395. Highway 4 is also closed.