- Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued to more than six communities near Markleville.
- Wildfires burning in 13 states have burned more than 1,800 square miles.
- Wildfires in the West have been fueled by intense heat waves this summer.
A massive fire near Lake Tahoe forced hundreds to flee to more than 30 square miles on Sunday, one of more than 80 big fires broke out Across the hot, drought-hit West, fire officials said.
Authorities in Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest have issued mandatory evacuation orders to more than six communities and two campgrounds near tiny Markleeville, California, a town of less than 200 people located 35 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe. The Tamarack fire, which broke out two weeks ago, has also closed a highway and some smaller roads.
Wildfires burning Sunday in 13 states have burned more than 1,800 square miles from Alaska to California and from Minnesota to New Mexico. Nearly 20,000 firefighters were working to keep the fires out.
Among other major fires, the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon has engulfed more than 460 square miles and destroyed at least 67 homes. The fire, which is 22% contained, has forced 2,000 people to evacuate and threatens 5,000 buildings.
The Beckworth compound fire in California near the Nevada border has burned more than 160 square miles and is 70% contained.
In Nevada, more than 500 firefighters battling the Tamarack fire faced a red flag warning, meaning that warm temperatures, extremely low humidity and strong winds were conspiring to produce an increased hazard.
“Firefighters will continue to actively suppress the fire where they can do so safely,” fire managers said in an update. “The crews will focus on preserving life and property by protecting points of structures and placing containment lines where possible.”
The fire was so fierce that the bicycle race called for it “Ride death” can not risk ي.
“We are deeply saddened to report that due to the rapidly growing Tamarack fire, the death ride for tomorrow has been cancelled,” the race organizers said on their website. “Please pray for the Markleeville community, and first responders from multiple agencies who are working to contain the fire.”
Residents, would-be cyclists and spectators were forced to flee. Paul Burgess, who drove from Los Angeles to take part in the ride, said most of the cyclists he met were grateful to be away from the fire hazard.
“They just said that’s the case,” Burgess said. “It’s part of climate change somewhat, it’s part of a lot of fuels that aren’t being burned, the humidity is low, the fuel moisture levels are low, and… across the state, many parts of it are like tinderbox.”
Kelly Bennington and her family were camping near the city on Friday when they were asked to leave.
“It happened very quickly,” Bennington said. “We left our tents, a hammock and some food, but we got most of our things, pushed our two children into the car and left.”
Contributing: The Associated Press