Markleville Ca – Hope and expectations were dashed late Thursday as word spread that the Washington fire outside of Markleville Ca. had shifted course a bit and would require HWY 4 and HWy 89 to remain closed for the weekend. Also medical reports & opinions were shared warning against air quality in the Alpine County / Carson Valley region over the weekend.
This news was hard for all REC enthusiasts who had plans in the Ebbetts pass region, but particularly hard for a cycling club whose biggest event of the year had to be canceled for the year because of this tragic natural disaster.
The Alta Alpina Cycling club, who annually holds the Alta Alpina Challenge this weekend each summer, notified riders that had registered for the event last night via email and their social media channels that the Cycling challenge would be canceled this year and all funds returned based on the recommendations of medical staff and of course the course closure in parts of the challenge.
The Alta Alpina Challenge is known by cyclist as one of the world’s toughest double century courses, but locally the group has worked hard to develop a type of create your own adventure event which allows cyclist of all levels to come out and ride what they are most comfortable with. This puts beginners shoulder to shoulder with some of the best cyclists in the world, making Alta Alpina a very unique event in this region. With nearly 500 riders annually in this event a lot of work goes into preparations, so canceling the event was no easy decision this year for the group. When we spoke with the directors on Monday this week, they had great hope that he fire would be contained enough that the event would still be run and at worst they might have to change the course.
Of course there are other REC closures this weekend that affect people who love to camp, fish, Hike and Horseback ride off HWY 4 and Ebbetts Pass.
The Latest Fire report from The National Forest Service:
Firefighters on the Washington Fire, 3 miles south of Markleeville, California continued to
optimize lower wind conditions to increase containment. Significant progress has been made
towards containing the western flank of the fire south of Markleeville. The fire has burned
16,490 acres and is 15 percent contained. The reduction in the reported fire size is due to
more accurate mapping. The fire was most active overnight and today on the southern flank
west of Wolf Creek Meadows in the Carson Iceberg Wilderness.
For the safety of the public and due to fire suppression activities, Highways 4 and 89 in the
Monitor and Ebbetts Pass areas will remain closed throughout the weekend. Several
campgrounds along Highway 4 south of Markleeville as well as the Turtle Rock and Indian
Creek campgrounds north of Markleeville remain closed. The Pacific Crest Trail remains open.
Markleeville residents are under an evacuation advisory issued by Alpine County Sherriff’s
office. No mandatory evacuations are in effect at this time.
As of Thursday, resources on scene include 27 crews, 50 engines and 12 water tenders.
Eleven helicopters are supporting the suppression effort, dropping retardant and water,
ferrying equipment and supplies, transporting firefighters, and providing aerial surveillance.
There are 951 personnel assigned.
The primary strategic priority is to prevent the fire from reaching Markleeville. The next
priorities are to contain the fire in the Wolf Creek and Monitor Pass areas. Firefighters
continued to develop and implement contingency plans in preparation for the thunderstorms
forecasted Friday through Sunday. Thunderstorms are forecasted to begin dry and become
wetter beginning Sunday.
Tomorrow’s weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with isolated, mostly dry,
thunderstorms, well above normal temperatures with 10 – 15 mph winds in the afternoon.
Strong and erratic outflow winds may accompany any thunderstorm development near the fire.
The fire was ignited by lightning that occurred in previous storms, 10 days before it was
detected on Friday, June 19.
Fire restrictions go into effect for Western Nevada and eastern California tomorrow, June 26th
Further information is available at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4317/
REC Closures for this weekend include: The Wolf Creek Camp, Dry Camping along the East Fork of the Carson River, Indian Reservoir, Turtle Rock Park, Silver Creek Campground. At this time the PCT trail is still open but only by hiking or coming from the west on HWY 4. All eastern Access to the PCT or Carson Iceberg Wilderness is closed. Monitor Pass is closed as well including camping in the high points, fishing at Heenan Lake. There is no official word of closures to the Carson Iceberg Wilderness from the Sonora Pass area (HWY 108 or the Walker Region (HWY 395) but obviously caution is recommended since the fire is only 15% contained and the weather is not helping this weekend.
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