Thousands of riders and spectators left stranded Saturday and rushing to flee the area instead to participate at an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada, due to a rapidly growing wildfire in northern California, south of Lake Tahoe. The event was cancelled. The Tamarack Fire, located near Markleeville and Pleasant Valley, which sat at an estimated 500 acres as of Friday night, has grown to over 6,600 acres and closed multiple highways. The fire is active on all flanks and exhibiting high rates of spread as it burns timber and bush. Evacuation orders were in place for Markleeville, Grover’s Hot Springs Park and Campground, Shay Creek, Markleeville Village and East Fork Resort. About 5,000 homes are threatened.
Smoke from the Tamarack Fire can be seen from the Markleeville Guard Station. More than 2,100 firefighters, a dozen helicopters and airplane tankers had 22% of the blaze under control, said Oregon Department of Forestry spokesman Marcus Kauffman. No clear prediction is available as to when the fire might be fully controlled, Kauffman said, but November is the estimate. The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Conditions are right for lightning strikes in northern California and into Oregon through Idaho which could spark more blazes.