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Update: Alpine County fire grows overnight to 16,500 acres

A small group of firefighters cross the highway in a smoke-filled Markleeville on Monday morning.
A small group of firefighters cross the highway in a smoke-filled Markleeville on Monday morning. Jim Grant

Fire officials on Tuesday said that a blaze burning in Alpine County timberland grew overnight by 1,500 acres but spared the county seat of Markleeville.

The fire burning 8-to-10 miles south of the mountain hamlet of Markleeville has consumed 16,544 acres as of Tuesday morning. Firefighters have yet to reach any containment on the wildland blaze.

The lightning-caused fire started Friday. Fire officials earlier said that the blaze was growing to the west, away from Markleeville.

Fire crews focused efforts on protecting the town, which has little more than 200 residents. Heavy smoke was reported in the area, according to fire officials.

As a precaution, Markleeville residents were advised to prepare for evacuation, but no mandatory evacuations are in effect.

Highways 4 and 89 were closed in the Monitor Pass area. About 500 personnel were involved in fighting the fire. Equipment included 17 engines, three water tenders and 19 aircraft.

Firefighters plan to continue making the protection of Markleeville a priority on Tuesday. The weather is expected to be in the 80s with winds blowing from 5-to-10 mph.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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