Kyburz fire shuts down Highway 50

By From page A1 | July 10, 2013

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A CAL FIRE air tanker drops retardant over the Kyburz Fire on Monday, July 8. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

A fire closed Highway 50 near Kyburz Monday afternoon and as of Tuesday afternoon, was burning about 615 acres.

The fire was reported at 12:41 p.m. Monday, said Cal Fire’s Teri Mizuhara. According to the U.S. National Forest’s Website, it originated about a half-mile east from the Mile 29 post marker off Highway 50. Problems with smoke and terrain prevented a more accurate acreage count, Mizuhara said.

The fire was about 40 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, Mizuhara said, and two outbuildings had been damaged. A music camp voluntarily evacuated about 100 people just after the fire was reported, but no buildings are currently threatened. The fire is mostly heading north, she said, into a “timber, rugged” area.

“Spotting ahead of the main fire” has impeded crews, she said, and they have tried to “draw a line and put everything out in that containment line.”

Aircraft and hand crews are being used where possible, she said, and Highway 50 is only traveling in one direction with a Cal Trans escort vehicle. The other direction is required to circle back. Fire equipment is on the highway, she said, and they are worried debris from the fire could roll onto the road.

The fire could be upgraded from a Type 3 to a Type 2, Mizuhara said, meaning a new management team would come in and take over. Fire crews from around the state and possibly the country would be brought in to relieve local crews, who would go back to local calls. The decision was to be made at 6 p.m. Tuesday, after the Mountain Democrat’s deadline.

Although CHP has declared the fire to have been caused by a vehicle, the Forest Service, the lead agency on the fire, has not disclosed a cause yet.

There were 864 personnel, 23 hand crews, 50 engines, four helicopters, two air tankers and an air attack plane responding to the fire Tuesday morning. The Forest Service, Cal Fire, El Dorado County Fire, Rescue Fire, Garden Valley Fire, El Dorado Hills Fire, Cal Trans, CHP and the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office all responded to the blaze.

Cole Mayer

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