Deadwood Ridge in the Tahoe National Forest is where firefighters plan on making a stand against the American Fire burning in Placer County.
It’s burning at the bottom of a steep ravine, putting up layers of thick, gray smoke – but making flames all but impossible to see until they’re on top of you.
So crews from Cal Fire, the Department of Corrections and the U.S. Forest Service are working a mile or so ahead of the flames, ahead of the smoke. They’re making the road wider, cutting through underbrush and small trees, to give firefighters more room when the fire gets to the dusty, dirt road of Deadwood Ridge.
“You start getting that way, we start impacting more, for lack of a better term, civilization – you start getting into campgrounds, you start getting into people’s vacation cabins and so forth,” said Firefighter Greg Kirk with the Forest Hill Fire Department.
But the problems aren’t just narrow roads and thick trees, it’s also giant log deck 15-30 feet tall. They’re full of the slash piles left over from logging, which have been on the ground for years and are drier than the Sahara.
“We’d like to make the stand right here, keep it here and be done with it,” Kirk said.
As of Monday evening, the fire is estimated to be around 1,200 acres. No evacuations have been ordered, but smoke continues to be seen for miles.