Sunday, 25 September 2022

Local fire resources help fight Tahoe blaze

Image
The Angora fire, looking west from Lira's Market in Meyers. Photo by Mike Guarino.

 

 

LAKE COUNTY – With the Angora fire still endangering South Lake Tahoe, firefighters from here in Lake County are at the fire now, working to contain it.


The fire, which broke out Sunday, has burned 3,100 acres south of Lake Tahoe and east of Fallen Leaf Lake, according to the US Forest Service's Incident Information System.


So far, 251 homes have been destroyed and three people injured, the US Service reported. The fire is 55-percent contained, with containment expected July 3.


On scene are 164 engines, 51 crews, 21 helicopters, four dozers and 15 water tenders, staffed by an estimated 2,174 personnel.


The fire is under federal jurisdiction, which means fire resources from National Forests have been called from around the state.


Hinda Darner, a fuels technician with the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District, said Thursday that the district sent and engine and a hand crew – consisting of about 20 people – to the Angora fire. The group left at the beginning of the week, she said.


The Upper Lake district is rating fire danger as high, especially with the big weekend and the Fourth of July holiday around the corner, said Darner. During that time, she said, “We get a lot more public use and campfires.”


Darner said the district has a responsibility to make sure they have enough resources, which means not sending off more firefighters than they can spare.


So far, 32 firefighters and logistical personnel and five from the Mendocino National Forest have gone to work the Angora Fire, said Punky Moore, a spokesperson for the forest's main office in Willows. The forest employs a total of 260 staff – including firefighters – during the summer season.


Moore said some of the personnel who had gone to Tahoe already have returned from the fire. There was a “big push” to contain the fire on Wednesday, Moore said. The Forest Service reported that fire crews on Wednesday night increased efforts to secure firelines around the fire's perimeter.


During the “ramp up” period of a fire, when it's just getting under way, Moore said it's important to get as many people on scene as you can. Now, however, the effort appears to have reached its peak.


“At this point we're not sending more people unless more orders come in,” Moore said.


A report from the Cal Fire Command Center noted that Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit has sent a total of five engines manned by 20 personnel, plus a hand crew strike team – consisting of another 30 firefighters – to work the Angora fire. However, they don't anticipate sending any more because no new orders for crews have come in.


Cal Fire is an important responder on many fires, as seen in the Westwind mobile home park fire early Wednesday morning.


Lake County Fire Protection District Chief Jim McMurray reported that Cal Fire's staffing remains strong in Lake County, which is important as the local fire season ramps up. “It hasn't been real bad yet, but it's starting very early,” said McMurray, who noted that the weather is much drier much earlier.


McMurray is hoping things will “stay quiet,” as they approach the July 4th holiday, when fireworks are a problem.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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