Eastern California National Forest officials said on Sunday they were closing a 26-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Trail as a lightning-triggered wildfire exploded rapidly nearby and extreme weather conditions. dangerous threats threatened to worsen the situation.
The Tamarack fire, which began July 4 in Alpine County, fell from 500 acres on Friday night to 21,000 on Sunday morning, without containment. Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest officials say the rapid growth was fueled by strong winds on Saturday, associated with extremely dry forest lands and low humidity.
The Pacific Ridge Trail is closed from California State Route 4, known as Ebbetts Pass, to California State Route 88, known as Carsons Pass. Sunday morning, the fire was burning northeast of the trail near Raymond Peak in the Pleasant Valley Creek area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
The Pacific Coast Trail begins in Southern California at the Mexican border and travels 2,650 miles through California, Oregon and Washington to the Canadian border. It attracts thousands of hikers each year who hike the trail for months from start to finish, hike a section for shorter day hikes, or take backpacking trips.
The Tamarack fire destroyed three structures but no injuries were reported, according to a Facebook post from the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office.
Evacuations have been issued for half a dozen campgrounds and resorts in the National Forest, as well as the communities of Markleeville, Alpine Village and Woodfords, according to an overview of incidents from the United States Forest Service.
The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for Alpine County, as well as high elevation areas in the Bay Area, due to the risk of dry lightning causing more fires starting Sunday evening . The warnings will be in effect from 5 p.m. Sunday to 5 p.m. Monday.
Although dry lightning helped fuel California’s historic wildfire season last year, National Weather Service meteorologist Brayden Murdock said weather events expected over the next two days are unlikely to have consequences. also damaging.
Unlike last year, there is more humidity in the air here in the Bay Area and the area is not expected to experience unusually high temperatures next week, he said.
Still, Murdock said residents of affected areas should pack a take-out bag, know their evacuation routes and check on neighbors and family members.
Meanwhile, the Dixie Fire – the wildfire that burns near the scar of the 2018 deadly campfire – burned up to 15,074 acres on Sunday morning and is 15% contained, according to an update of Cal Fire.
Since Sunday morning, the fire has been burning in an uninhabited area where there is little chance of destruction, said Sean Norman of Cal Fire. during a Sunday morning briefing. Crews use existing control lines from previous fires to aid in firefighting efforts.
Norman said he expects a massive cloud to form over the blaze on Sunday as it approaches Chipps Creek to the north and that anyone traveling along Highway 70 will also be affected by a thick smoke.
Check back for updates.