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Washington Fire Makes For Anxious Week In Markleeville

Richard Harvey

Richard Harvey

It has been a week since people living in Markleeville were advised to be ready to evacuate because of the Washington Fire.

The wildfire, burning in Alpine County, started about eight to 10 miles south of the town of 250 people, and burned to within about three miles of the community. 

Dr. Rich Harvey has lived in Markleeville for more than 15 years.

The former Alpine County Health Officer has been watching the fire's progress. 

"The fire has burnt down to the highway as you're going south out of Markleeville, it's highway 4-89, the two highways are together there," said Harvey. 

He took a ride with Alpine County Sheriff Department deputies Wednesday to get a first-hand look. 

"There's spot burns along the east Carson River that have crossed the river in various places, but it doesn't appear to be total devastation in the river canyon," said Harvey. 

Keeping the fire from reaching Markleeville has been a priority for crews working the fire in the Humboldt-Toyiabe National Forest, since it was spotted Friday, June 19. 

"The entire community is so grateful for the tremendous effort and the fact that they've made Markleeville a priority," said Harvey. “We can feel it here, there are fire trucks, lots of them in town, and they come up and down the driveway where I live to ask if everything is all right." 

Until fire crews get the upper hand, Harvey and his neighbors are ready to evacuate. 

"I'm feeling more confident that the fire is moving away from us and we're just waiting to be told that we can unpack the cars and go back to our usual lives here," said Harvey. 

The fire has made for an anxious week for Harvey and the small town of about 250 people. 

And the weekend weather forecast, with lightning, thunderstorms and stronger winds, doesn't ease that anxiousness.  But the fire crews in Harvey's neighborhood are standing by, ready to protect the tiny town. 

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