EL DORADO COUNTY -- Travelers on Highway 50 through the Sierra saw lane closures and delays Tuesday as U.S. Forest Service crews and inmate teams working with Cal Fire removed wildfire fuels along the road.
The project seeks to create a 300-foot fire break north of the major highway by clearing low-lying brush, dead branches and small trees that can help a fire grow.
It’s funded with federal dollars that are being funneled to the Forest Service and Cal Fire.
"We have fires that don’t know jurisdictional boundaries," said Tom Tinsley, a Cal Fire forester. "So we have to take a non-jurisdictional approach to fuels reduction."
Closing one lane on the highway is needed for safety because the terrain is steep and debris often lands in the roadway, where crews remove it for chipping or pile it up for burning when the weather allows.
Work will continue along a stretch from Kyburz to Pollock Pines but the current operation is on a smaller stretch and will continue through Thursday. Motorists can expect delays of 15 minutes or more.
In all, 400 acres are slated for thinning over the next few years.