Marines Evacuate Training Center As California Wildfires Rage

Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, stage their gear after conducting cliff assault operation during Mountain Training Exercise 4-18 aboard Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., July 30, 2018. (Adam Dublinske/U.S. Marine Corps)
Marines with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, stage their gear after conducting cliff assault operation during Mountain Training Exercise 4-18 aboard Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., July 30, 2018. (Adam Dublinske/U.S. Marine Corps)

The Marine Corps ordered an immediate evacuation of its mountain-warfare training center near the California-Nevada border as a nearby wildfire threatens the base.

Col. Kevin Hutchison, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, ordered all personnel to evacuate the installation on Wednesday at 1 p.m. local time, according to a Marine Corps news release.

The order came at the recommendation of the U.S. Forest Service. The mountain-warfare training center is located northwest of Bridgeport, California, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains about 20 miles from the Nevada border.

The Boot Fire has burned at least 3,000 acres in the area, according to Forest Service data. The fire has led to evacuations and road closures in the area, including sections of the Pacific Crest Trail and U.S. Highway 395.

The fire was first reported on Tuesday. It's not known what sparked the inferno.

Marines training at Bridgeport often work with pack animals, including horses and donkeys. Marine officials did not immediately respond to questions about whether the animals were also evacuated from the base on Wednesday.

The Marine Corps conducts cold-weather and mountain-survival training at the remote installation. It occupies about 46,000 acres of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Elevation there ranges from more than 6,700 to about 12,000 feet above sea level.

In July, hundreds of families were evacuated from sections of Camp Pendleton in California as fires spread there. At least 1,200 acres were burned in those wildfires.

--Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

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