Sandoval, Interior Secretary visit Markleeville, tour command center |

Sandoval, Interior Secretary visit Markleeville, tour command center

The Associated Press
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, left center, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, center, receive a briefing from fire officials on the Washington fire in Markleeville, Ca. on Wednesday, June 24, 2015. The lightning-caused fire has grown to nearly 17,000 acres since Friday. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison)
AP | FR70203 AP

MARKLEEVILLE — Gov. Brian Sandoval and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell toured Markleeville close to the 26-square mile wildfire near the Nevada border.

The two spoke with firefighters in the town of 250 and also toured the fire incident command center at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Minden on Wednesday morning.

The wildfire started with a lighting strike on Friday and quickly spread due to strong winds. Firefighters say their current priority is to prevent the fire from reaching the historic California town of Markleeville, which is around eight miles north of the blaze.

Jewell said firefighters are also prioritizing protection of an area inhabited by sage grouse.

The wildfire has grown to 26 square miles in hazardous and inaccessible terrain south of Lake Tahoe and is moving closer to structures, officials said.

No buildings have been damaged, but the mountain town of Markleeville remained on standby Wednesday for possible evacuations, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Several campgrounds have been evacuated, and two highways have been closed.

The fire was 10 percent contained by Wednesday evening.

Air tankers and helicopters helped 900 firefighters battle the blaze. One firefighter received a heat-related injury Tuesday.

Strong, erratic winds and severe drought conditions have stoked the fire, and smoke could be seen as far away as Carson City.