Blowing embers ignited a new spot fire Thursday afternoon as the Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe continues to burn, growing an additional 12 square miles from Thursday to Friday.
The fire jumped the highway north of Topaz Lake on the California-Nevada line, prompting a new evacuation order at Topaz Lake Estates and neighboring areas.
The fire was less than a mile from the estates, a community of around 1,200 people in Douglas County, Nevada. The area is about 70 miles south of Reno. All residents were asked to evacuate to Smith Valley High School, about 18 miles to the east.
The new blaze has already had burned nearly 4 square miles.
The Tamarack Fire has burned more than 78 square miles of timber and head-high chaparral in national forest land. It erupted July 4 and was one of nearly two dozen blazes sparked by lightning strikes. It is currently 4% contained.
The fire in Alpine County has destroyed at least 10 buildings. Fire officials expected active or extreme fire behavior on Friday because of afternoon gusts and temperatures approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Firefighters on the ground and aircraft continue to battle the growing spot under exceptionally difficult weather and fuel condition,” the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest said in an update.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Thursday in Plumas County in the Sierra Nevada west of the Nevada line as the Dixie Fire continued to grow explosively eastward, becoming California’s largest wildfire so far this year.
“This fire is outpacing us at moments,” Shannon Prather, the incident commander, said Thursday evening.
The fire had burned more than 223 square miles as of Friday morning, destroyed at least eight buildings and threatened at least 1,500 more, fire officials said.