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California wildfire erupts, forcing urgent evacuations

The fire that started with a lightning strike on July 4 has now expanded to 32 square miles.

Updated: July 17, 2021 - 11:27pm

A wildfire near California's scenic Lake Tahoe exploded in size Saturday night, forcing mass evacuations and the cancellation of an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada.

The Tamarack Fire, which started with a lightning strike on July 4, has now grown to 32 square miles, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest announced.

The blaze was threatening Markleeville, a small town close to the California-Nevada state line. It has destroyed at least three structures, authorities said, and was burning toward the Alpine County Airport after jumping a highway, the Associated Press reported.