MARKLEEVILLE, Calif. — The Tamarack Fire has grown to about 66,744 acres and is 21% contained on Sunday, according to fire officials.
Alpine County Sheriff's Department removed mandatory evacuation orders for a number of areas Sunday afternoon. But some remain in place for the following areas: Blue Lakes Road, Upper & Lower Blue Lakes Campgrounds, and State Route 4 corridor from Junction SR 89 to Ebbetts.
For Jerry and Janine Sprout, a husband and wife who've spent nearly four decades in the small town of Markleeville, the sight of singed mountains and burned trees all along the road into town was a shocking one.
"We just drove into Markleeville and this fire went everywhere," Jerry said. "I can say, absent the firefighters, that every single house in this county, spread far apart, would have burned. We’re feeling relieved grateful and shocked at the same time.”
For as long as Jerry has lived in the area, he's known Markleeville as a small but quirky town with its fair share of tourism.
He and Janine got the call to evacuate nearly five days ago. They didn't hesitate. They had their personal belongings packed and ready to go, like so many others in the area.
The Sprouts eventually came back to find their home intact after five days away. It's some relief that was mixed an abundance of emotions after seeing the fire damage around the area.
“We had no idea that it crossed and you know what it had done," Janine said. "But to see everything black to see just sticks of trees. It’s like a bomb went off. It's a very strange experience."
About 13 buildings across the Nevada border were reported to have been either damaged or destroyed due to the Tamarack Fire, according to Douglas County.
Accounts to follow:
The following locations and their surrounding areas are under a mandatory evacuation, according to Alpine County:
- Blue Lakes Road
- Upper & Lower Blue Lakes Campgrounds
- State Route 4 corridor from Junction Sr 89 to Ebbetts
- Spring Valley area in Douglas County
- Holbrook Junction/Highlands area in Douglas County
- Douglas County Community Senior Center in Gardnerville, Nevada
- Topaz Ranch Estates Community Center, 3939 Carter Dr., Wellington, Nevada
- St Gall Catholic Church is offering fire victims help with clothing and household items. The church office is open M-F from 9-2. http://www.saintgall.org
- Smith Valley High School, 20 Day Lane, Smith, Nev.
Animal Evacuation Center
- Carson City Fairgrounds - large animals and livestock
- Dressler Park, 23 Circle Drive, Wellington, Nevada - livestock
- Highway 88 is closed from the Nevada Stateline to Pickets Junction State Route 89 from the junction of Highway 88 to Highway 395 State Route 4 from the junction of Statue Route 89 to Ebbetts Pass
According to Cal Fire, 2020 was one of the most severe fire seasons on record as 9,917 wildfires burned 4.2 million acres. Over 9,000 structures were destroyed, and 31 people (civilians and firefighters) were killed.
California also experienced its first "Gigafire" because of the August Complex Fire, burning over 1 million acres by itself. Four of California's top five largest wildfires in state history happened in 2020.
If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.
The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.
Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts.
PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.
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