Story Summary

American Fire

The blaze, called “American Fire” by authorities, is located just northeast of Foresthill and reportedly started around 4:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The area is filled with heavy timber and brush.

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The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Placer County.

The warning has been issued as a precaution for debris flows near central Placer County. The area is at risk as a result of the American Fire, with significant amounts of rain flowing over the burn area for the first time.

The warning is in place until 9:15 p.m. Saturday night.

Ruben Dominguez filed this report.


Campers on the last weekend of the summer season are concerned about air quality, but are making trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains despite it.

The massive American Fire near Foresthill burned for several weeks and left smoke and haze throughout the Tahoe National Forest. But many campgrounds miles from the fire are unaffected.

Ken McCormick made reservations at the White Cloud Campground outside Nevada City. He noticed the smoke while driving through Auburn.

“Driving up here is when I first noticed it. It was pretty thick and pretty smoky,” said McCormick.

But he was happy that it was clear at White Cloud.

A lot of people called about camping conditions, according to Sarah Hill, spokesperson for the Tahoe National Forest.

“The camp host here said it’s been clear for the past five days,” said Hill.

A bigger concern is the high fire danger. There are fire restrictions for backpackers who can only use a portable camp stove, and then only with a permit.

“If folks are going to be at a developed campsite like this, where there are built-in fire rings and pits built for fire, then fires are still okay,” said Hill.

It can still be smoky near the Foresthill area where the American Fire is now fully contained. All nearby campgrounds are open, but Forest Service officials say to watch out for fire equipment that is still using the roads.

A steady stream of campers arrived at White Cloud campground throughout the day. Many feel the same as Lisa McCormick.

“Everything we saw said it was okay to come up here. It’s a good time to come up here and enjoy,” said McCormick.

American Fire in Placer County Still Raising Air Quality ConcernsPLACER COUNTY-

Twenty days after it started, the American Fire is completely contained.

Firefighters with the National Forest Service and Cal Fire began their mop-up effort Friday, stamping out hot spots and preventing flare ups.

The fire burned 27,440 acres of the Tahoe National Forest near Foresthill, filling the area with smoke.

Some roads in the area remain closed amid safety concerns. Mosquito Ridge Road was reopened Friday morning.

American Fire in Placer County Still Raising Air Quality ConcernsPLACER COUNTY-

The American Fire is almost fully contained after burning more than 26,000 acres of the Tahoe National Forest, firefighters said Thursday morning.

Complete containment is expected at midnight.

The fire has prompted air quality alerts and smoke advisories in the Sierra.

The National Forest Service says the American Fire is burning in an area with no recorded fire history. Firefighters had trouble with the steep and difficult terrain during the early days of the fire.

Mosquito Ridge Road, closed by the fire, is expected to reopen Friday morning. Other areas will main closed for now. For the latest information from the National Forest Service, click here.


While the American fire is almost at full containment, it is still causing major air quality problems in the Sierra and Foothills.

Today, football players at Placer High enjoyed practicing under a clear blue sky, but had practice been just a few hours sooner they may have been forced to practice indoors.

“It has been up and down and fortunately for us most days it has been in the morning,” said head coach Joey Montoya.

The quality of the air depends not just on the hour of the day, but the direction of the wind and the day of the week.

Although normally clear by 2 p.m., it is slightly better than what neighbors in the foothills witnessed two weeks ago when smoke from the American fire forced schools to cancel recess and some outdoor activities.

The air quality concerns are now shifting to communities northeast of the Rim Fire in areas like Tahoe and Reno, where particles in the air are roughly twice the normal standard.

It is those tiny particles that are most dangerous to human health.

Experts say do not expect weather patterns to change in the next few days, meaning smoke and air quality will not likely change either.

The American fire is now at 92% containment and is expected to be fully contained by Thursday.


Shot of the fire captured by a Cal Fire photographer. (File)


The National Forest Service said Monday that the American Fire, burning in the Tahoe National Forest, is more than 80 percent contained.

Since starting on Aug. 10, the fire has burned more than 24,000 acres.

Terrain in the area has made things hard on crews trying to fight it.

The fire is expected to be fully contained by Sept. 1.


Crews battling the American Fire, in the Tahoe National Forest near Foresthill, have an unexpected ally – smartphones and tablets.

Firefighters still must be well-versed in things like maps and compasses, but crews can now scan a QR code as base camp and be constantly updated on fire behavior and topography of the area.

Terrain has proven to be difficult in the American Fire, which is just 66 percent contained at 20,232 acres.

View our complete American Fire coverage by clicking here.

cal fire truckPLACER COUNTY-

About 1,800 firefighters are on day ten of containing the American Fire in the Tahoe National Forest.

Hand crews, water tenders, dozers and other assistance are working on the fire that has nearly burned 15,000 acres.

Steep terrain and thick hazy conditions have been making it tough for crews to work through. A newly issued red flag warning of showers and thunderstorms increase instability and risk of flooding.

Containment is slightly over 50 percent and the fire is primarily burning an area that has had no previously recorded fire history, according to the U.S. Forest Service fire behavior forecast.

Heavy smoke continues to consume the valley and many crews are working 24 hour shifts as resources spread thin.

Nicole Yi contributed to this report.


Crews are continuing to get a handle on the American Fire burning in the Tahoe National Forest.

While the fire has scorched nearly 15,000 acres, containment has now reached 53%, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

About 1,813 firefighters are fighting the blaze, which started back on August 10.

Wondering why so much smoke has been filling the valley? Smoke from the American Fire, along with other wildfires around the area, continues to drift down.


Above is a video from MAFFS 4, an aircrew fighting the American Fire, as they drop some fire retardant from their C-130 on the inferno.