Placer County fire nearly 15k acres

By From page A1 | August 21, 2013

The American Fire in Placer County continues to grow even as containment progress inches forward and smoke continues to affect El Dorado County.

A Tuesday update to InciWeb, maintained by the U.S. Forest Service, revealed the fire has grown to 14,990 acres with containment at 54 percent. The fire, approximately 10 air miles northeast of Foresthill, is in “steep, rugged terrain” in the “Tahoe National Forest within the North Fork of the Middle Fork American River drainage.” Should the fire or weather behavior change, it could threaten areas near Foresthill. Three outbuildings have already been destroyed.

Monday night, the fire was active on the southern and eastern flanks, with hand crews and dozers creating break lines overnight. South of the dozer line, along Deadwood Road and Foresthill Divide Road, crews were set to patrol and mop up along the containment line. Fire retardant drops will support direct and indirect line construction east of Antoine, Manila and Screwauger canyons.

“Active fire behavior in very steep, inaccessible terrain makes preparation of contingency lines critical. Indirect attack is the safest way to manage fire in areas of steep and difficult terrain,” the report stated.

Weather was a concern Tuesday, as “strong, erratic outflow winds and lightning” could strengthen fires or even create new fires. The National Weather Service’s Red Flag Warning was to remain in effect until 11 p.m. this evening.

Northeast of Foresthill, Foresthill Divide Road, beginning past the turnoff to Christmas Tree Lodge, had been closed by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. Both Robinson Flat Campground and Duncan Peak Lookout remain closed.

“Smoke continues to adversely affect air quality,” the update stated. “People with respiratory problems should avoid exposure to smoke and minimize outdoor activity.” The air in El Dorado County is being affected, as apparent from the unusually red-orange sun rising.

There are 51 hand crews, 71 engines, 42 water tenders, 40 dozers and 13 helicopters fighting the fire, with air tankers used as available, comprised of a total of 1,813 personnel.

The fire, which started Aug. 10 at about 4:30 p.m., was given an estimated containment time of Sunday, Sept. 1, at approximately midnight.

“Since Sunday evening, California has been pummeled with thousands of dry lightning strikes that have sparked over a hundred new wildfires,” wrote Cal Fire’s Daniel Berlandt in a morning statewide fire update Tuesday. “While most of those fires have been contained to small spots, strong winds and dry conditions have allowed several to grow rapidly. This morning firefighters are battling 11 major wildfires and complexes with over 6,500 firefighters on the frontlines.”

He added that this year has been worse for wildfires than last year. “Already this year, Cal Fire has responded to over 4,500 wildfires that have charred over 92,000 acres. Compared to last year during the same time period Cal Fire had responded to fewer than 3,300 fires that burned nearly 43,000 acres.”

Berlandt provided the following list of fires of interest in the state:

Swedes Fire, Butte County
Southeast of Oroville
2,139 acres — 75 percent contained
All evacuations have been lifted.

Burney Lightning Series, Shasta County
Near Fall River Mills and McAruther
190 acres

Bridges Fire, Calaveras County
Southeast of Vallecito, near New Melones Lake
47 acres — 100 percent contained

Federal fires
American Fire, Placer County U.S. Forest Service — Tahoe National Forest northeast of Foresthill
14,990 acres — 54 percent contained
Cal Fire is assisting.

Rim Fire Tuolumne County
U.S. Forest Service — Stanislaus National Forest northeast of Groveland
10,170 acres — 0 percent contained
Cal Fire is assisting

Shirley Fire, Kern County
U.S. Forest Service — Sequoia National Forest/Kern County Fire, eight miles west of Kernville
400 acres — 0 percent contained

Hough Complex, Plumas County
U.S. Forest Service — Plumas National Forest near Taylorsville
181 acres — 40 percent contained

Tenant Fire, Kern County
U.S. Forest Service — Sequoia National Forest near Tenant Springs
351 acres — 0 percent contained

Orleans Complex, Siskiyou County
U.S. Forest Service — Six Rivers National Forest, six miles southeast of Somes Bar
18,361 acres — 30 percent contained

Salmon River Complex, Siskiyou County
U.S. Forest Service — Klamath National Forest, one mile west of Sawyers Bar
14,171 acres — 85 percent contained

Corral Complex, Humboldt County
U.S. Forest Service — Six Rivers National Forest east of the Hoopa Indian Reservation
5,523 acres — 0 percent contained

Aspen Fire, Fresno County
U.S. Forest Service — Sierra National Forest near Huntington Lake
22,746 acres — 95 percent contained.

Cole Mayer

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