Genoa, Nev. — Federal firefighters working the 17,790-acre Washington Fire are preparing to pack their bags and turn the blaze over to local authorities.
They leave with the fire 94 percent contained, and costing $12.1 million to fight. On Sunday, the federal incident management team will move on to the next task.
Containment is expected on July 31.
The fire, which at one time threatened Markleeville, was caused by a lightning strike more than a week before it actually started to smoke. At about 7 p.m. June 19, firefighters spotted the blaze, which dry conditions and high winds drove from a few acres to nearly 6,500 acres on June 20. Critical fire weather on June 21 caused the fire to explode to more than 15,000 acres, and prompted Markleeville residents to standby for an evacuation.
But a few still days helped firefighters slow down the fire, and heavy rains over portions of the blaze helped considerably.
As of Saturday morning, the fire that once had more than 1,100 people working on it, was down to 429, including 10 hand crews and a dozen engines.