Kyburz Fire Presents Unique Challenges to Firefighters

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EL DORADO COUNTY-

Fighting the Kyburz Fire about 10 miles outside of Pollock Pines has been a challenge.

Where it’s burning isn’t easy to get to; most of the roads are one lane each direction. Many are dirt roads and the visibility is really challenging firefighters.

“Right now, the air craft are having problems seeing some stuff because the smoke is staying so low,” said Anna Callahan, with the U.S. Forest Service.

The smoke is hugging the tree line. Helicopters can’t fly below that so many times they are dropping water in areas they hope the fire is, Callahan says they can’t see it.

“They can’t get good eyes on what the fire is doing, necessarily,” said Callahan.

For several hours Monday, the fire continued to spread at a slow to moderate pace, and evening firefighters were still fighting for containment in rigorous conditions.

“Firefighting in steep areas always makes it more difficult. The access can be difficult and it’s obviously more strenuous for them to work,” said Callahan.

They are relying heavily on air support – five helicopters, four light air tankers and two large air tankers on stand by.

“It really helps to have air craft support so they can get water in to places where the firefighters might not be able to go,” said Callahan.

For several hours Monday, Highway 50 was shut down, until lanes began to reopen at about 8 p.m. to controlled traffic.

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