MARKLEVILLE (CBS SF) – A strong group of firefighters battled the blaze early in Sunday and kept the blaze from entering the heart of the Sierra evacuated community from Markville as the fire caused an explosion on more than 18,000 acres.
The fire broke out when a small blaze broke out during the July 4 holiday. While U.S. Forest Service officials were monitoring it, the fire erupted on Friday and quickly spread from 500 acres to more than 18,000 acres over the next 36 hours.
There was zero restraint, but the rapidly growing number of firefighters brought to the battlefield apparently saved most of Markleville after the fire almost engulfed the community. The fire was moving northwards away from the small mountain community.
The fire initially engulfed 50 firefighters who were monitoring the fire. By Sunday morning, the number of firefighters had reached 120.
On Sunday, rising flames forced federal park officials to close the Pacific Cross Trail between California State Highway 88 and California Route 4 (Ebbetts Pass).
“Non-compliance with the dress code could result in criminal and / or civil penalties, including fines of up to $ 5,000 and / or imprisonment for six months,” the guards warned. “Furthermore, anyone responsible for starting a fire can be held civilly and criminally liable.”
The route stretches 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada and attracts thousands of tourists. It is divided into five regions: Southern California, Central California, Northern California, Oregon and Washington.
Meanwhile, the fire has forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes in 14 small communities in the fire-affected area southwest of Lake Tahoe. Mandatory evacuations were available for the Markleville, Warm Parks and Grover areas, Shay Creek, Markleeville, East Fork Resort, Alpine Village and Woodfords.
Among those forced out of their homes was Rodney Pryor, who lives in Shay Creek.
“They gave me a good few hours before they said,‘ Now you have to get out! “” He said. “So I took everything to my RV. All my precious things. ”
While there were encouraging signs in the fire. Mother Nature decided to add a new invitation on Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service for the region launched the Red Flag notice from 11 a.m. Sunday and continued until Monday morning. Dry lighting was expected to erode through the Tahoe area, increasing the risk of fire.
Winds were expected to reach 40 mph.
“The Red Flag warning means severe weather conditions are currently occurring or will occur soon,” meteorologists said. “A combination of strong wind, low relative humidity and hot temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”
At least two facilities were destroyed.
The fire also forced Death Ride to ride a bicycle for a distance of 103 miles on the so-called California Alps over three Sierra Nevada passes on Saturday.
Kelly Pennington and her family were camping near town on Friday to allow her husband to attend the ninth ride when they were told to leave. They observed the growth of smoke throughout the day, but protected them from the rapid spread of fire.
“It happened very quickly,” Pennington said. “We left our tents, hammocks and some food, but took most of our belongings, put our two children in the car and left.”
Paul Burgess, who was traveling from Los Angeles to participate in the tour, said most of the cyclists he met were grateful to be safe from the risk of fire.
“They just said it’s the same,” Burgess said. “It’s part of climate change to a certain extent, it’s just part of the fuel being burned, the humidity is low, the humidity is low and … around the states, a lot of parts of it are like tinderbox. ”
For longtime residents, the blaze and evacuation brought back memories of the 2012 Acorn fire that engulfed the area.
“Everything has been restored here and this is the second time the area has been threatened,” said local resident Andrea Fierle.
© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to the report.