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Latest Updates On The Washington Fire

Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators

9 a.m. Monday Update:

With more than a thousand personnel working to put out the Washington Fire, the blaze is now 45% contained. Officials with the U.S. Forest Service say that the fire threat to Markleeville has diminished and firefighting efforts were helped over the weekend by higher humidity, lower temperatures, and light rains. 

State Highway 4 is now open from Markleeville to Ebbetts Pass for through traffic. Highway 89 to Monitor Pass and to Wolf Creek Road remains closed. 

8 p.m. Friday Update:

The Washington Fire has now burned more than 17,600 acres and is 29% contained. 

1 p.m. Friday Update:

The Washington Fire is now 3 miles south of Markleeville, California and is 15% contained. More accurate mapping actually shows that the fire has burned fewer acres than previously reported. Instead of reaching more than 17,000 acres, the fire has burned 16,490 acres. 

Along with close to 1,000 personnel, other resources on scene include 50 engines, 12 water tenders, and 11 helicopters. Temperatures are predicted to be well above normal and possible thunderstorms could bring erratic winds.

4 p.m. Thursday Update:

After burning for nearly a week, the Washington Fire has scorched 17,205 acres and is 10 percent contained.

At this point, the number of personnel on scene has grown to 900.  

The fire was ignited last Friday from lightning that occurred during earlier storms. Highways 4 and 89 are still closed around the Monitor and Ebbetts Pass areas. Several campgrounds are also closed, but the Pacific Crest Trail remains open. 

9 a.m. Wednesday Update:

The Washington Fire burning 8 miles south of Markleeville, California is now 5 percent contained, thanks to lighter winds in that area. 

Highways 4 and 89 in the Monitor Pass area remain closed and some campgrounds are still evacuated. Markleeville residents are under an evacuation advisory issued by the Alpine County Sheriff's Office, but there have been no mandatory evacuations yet.

There are close to 700 personnel working to put out this fire, which has now burned 16,553 acres.

2 p.m. Tuesday Update:

Air tankers, helicopters and hundreds of firefighters continue to battle the Washington Fire south of Markleeville, California, which has now burned roughly 23 square miles or more than 16,000 acres. 

No structures have been damaged, no one has been injured, and no evacuations have been ordered for Markleeville residents, but Highway 89 and Highway 4 are closed.

The fire was started by lightning Friday night and strong erratic winds and severe drought conditions are making it tough to fight.  About 500 personnel are on the fire lines.


Danna has been with KUNR Public Radio since 1995. She started as a weekend announcer, then full time jazz host and in 2008 became the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition.
Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.
Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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