Bulldozers and blasts of water from the sky helped to wrangle an unruly wildfire in El Dorado County on Thursday.
“We have not had a fire out here in many many years … so it’s very scary,” said Danika McLean.
Fears mounting in the area, right along with the number of acres on fire — reports jumping from 30 to 200 in three hours.
Investigators later revised the amount of land charred to just 100 acres.
The first flames were spotted near Adventure Connection Rafting Company around 2 p.m.
“Everybody was on the river when it happened, and we got everybody back to their cars and on their way,” said Adventure’s operations manager Jeremiah Copper.
“My mom called and said there’s a fire. She was panicking and we got a bunch of hoses together and drove down the road,” said McLean.
McLean made it to her parents’ River’s Bend Rafting Resort before Cal Fire shut down that part of Highway 49 to reserve access for emergency traffic.
“It jumped over Highway 49 here. So it wasn’t going in any one particular direction,” said Brice Bennett with Cal Fire.
“We’re down there — my husband, my son, with hoses just trying to keep it, but a hose is nothing in this condition. So the fire crews — this plane in particular — dropping the water and putting that out to keep it away from structures when it’s only 20 feet away, it’s amazing,” said McLean.
“This fire was in an area that had unpredictable winds. Small canyons, light grass that was exceptionally dry. This fire changed directions very quickly,” Bennett said.
It’s the kind of increased difficulty firefighters across the region will be up against as long as California stays so dry.
When crews settled in to babysit the fire overnight, it was 75 percent contained and Highway 49 had re-opened.
Luckily, when the flames were at their worst they didn’t injure anyone or destroy any property at the rafting companies.
Investigators have yet to find a cause for this fire.