UPDATE: Tamarack Fire 45% contained; Evacuations lifted for some
UPDATE 8:31 a.m.:
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Some mandatory evacuations have been removed for residents displaced due to the Tamarack Fire as containment has reached 45%.
The Alpine County Sheriff’s Office is letting residents back into several communities, including Woodfords, Alpine Village, Diamond Valley Road, Markleeville, Markleeville Village, Shay Creek, Grover Hot Springs, East Fork Resort, Crystal Springs and Wylder Resort.
California State Route 88 remains closed to through traffic but officials will let residents past who have proof of residence, identification or utility bill.
Evacuations are still in place for Blue Lakes Road, Upper and Lower Blue Lakes Campground and California State Route 4 corridor from the junction at California State Route 89 to Ebbetts Pass.
The fire as of Monday morning is at 67,674 acres, growing slightly overnight, and containment jumped from 27% to 45% in the last 24 hours.
Widespread haze from wildfire smoke is affecting air quality at Lake Tahoe. Smoke from the Tamarack Fire to the south and the Dixie Fire to the north has drifted into the basin creating less than ideal conditions to be outside.
The air quality is similar all around the lake Monday morning. Those sensitive to smoke should try to avoid spending time outdoors, and those spending a lot of time outdoors will likely see some effects, according to purpleair.com.
U.S. Highway 395 has been reopened in both directions with no restrictions as of Monday morning.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Smoke from wildfires is impacting Lake Tahoe.
Unhealthy air quality is being reported on the North Shore on Sunday with slightly better conditions on the South Shore, according to purpleair.com.
Anyone with sensitivities to smoke should limit time outdoors.
While the smoke has been heavier over the past couple of days in the basin, containment on the destructive Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe has grown to 27% with most of that on the northern flank, officials reported Sunday.
The fire map updated Sunday morning shows containment lines protecting the communications towers on Hawkins Peak and stretches down the canyon along California State Route 88 to Woodfords and beyond.
Hot spots near Woodfords and Blue Lakes have disappeared from the mapping.
Structure protection crews will be working Sunday and through the night, patrolling communities including Sierra Pines, Crystal Springs, Woodfords, Markleeville and Grover Hot Springs.
Highway 88, along with California State Routes 89 and 4 and U.S. Highway 395, remains closed in the fire area.
The blaze grew another 7,632 acres on Saturday and is at 66,744 overall as of Sunday.
The fire has claimed about two dozen structures, including 13 that have been damaged or lost in Douglas County.
The estimated number of people evacuated is now 2,289, officials reported on Sunday.
More than 1,500 firefighters are battling the fire.
Expected thunderstorms may bring severe wind and lightning and the smoke from the Dixie Fire burning to the north of Lake Tahoe is also expected to blanket the area, which could limit the use of aircraft. Officials said the chance for significant rainfall is 10%, but there is the potential for outflow winds from the storm pushing strong gusts up to 45 mph over the fire area and increasing fire activity.
Fire officials have had difficulty with other aircraft flying into the fire area where restrictions are in place.
“Whether flying a fixed wing, helicopter, or drone … private aircraft must abide by these TFR regulations,” said a statement. “If aircraft encroaches on the TFR, it can be deadly. Any personal aircraft, even a tiny drone, can cause a serious or fatal accident if it collides with firefighting aircraft. If aircraft or drones are spotted near a wildfire, firefighting aircraft must land due to safety concerns. This prolongs firefighting operations; in many cases, wildfires become larger when aircraft are not able to drop fire retardant, water, monitor wildfires from above, or provide tactical information to firefighters. Homes and other values at risk could burn needlessly, firefighters or others could be injured, or worst of all, a fatal accident could occur.”
Large ‘scooper’ uses Lake Tahoe to battle Tamarack Fire
A Super Scooper has been called in to help battle the Tamarack Fire.
The Super Scooper aircraft can carry up to 1,600 gallons of water and was expected to arrive Friday in South Lake Tahoe, according to officials. It’s high speed and 12 second water accumulation is expected to greatly help the effort in battling the fire.
Officials said Lake Tahoe would be used by the aircraft to collect water.
The Super Scooper is an amphibious aircraft used to help suppress wildland fires. It’s scooping ability will allow for less time traveling to receive water at water “refilling stations” and allows the aircraft to get water at closer locations, including Topaz Lake, according to officials.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. Staff Writer Miranda Jacobson contributed to this report.
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