Firefighters work to protect homes as Caldor Fire threatens Kyburz

Local News

KYBURZ, Calif. (KTXL) — Fire crews worked feverishly Monday to protect the Highway 50 community of Kyburz, which is in the path of the Caldor Fire.

The Caldor Fire is just 5% contained and a major concern is that around 12,000 people live within 5 miles of the fire area.

But firefighting resources are pouring into El Dorado County, unlike in the early days of the Caldor Fire when people and equipment were stretched thin between other fires.

“We have support from nine different states that are coming to support our fire and that represents at least 19 different agencies,” explained Diana Swart, with Cal Fire’s Amador-El Dorado Unit.

The northern part of the fire jumped across Highway 50 over the weekend; that spot fire has been isolated but is still active. 

The northern head of the fire is already creeping down to the steep slope of the canyon carved out by the South Fork of the American River and threatens to hop the river and the highway again. 

Homes in Kyburz have been evacuated ahead of the fire. 

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity are buying some time for firefighters trying to protect homes. But firefighters aren’t just waiting for the fire to enter the community. Instead, they are thinking ahead and taking preventative measures to protect structures.

Highway 50 was closed at Sly Park and more bulldozers were brought in to contain the fire and protect homes. 

A private firefighting crew out of Medford, Oregon, worked to thin vegetation near homes. 

Lighting backfires has been an essential tool to starve the fire of fuel. A crew was preparing a steep hillside for a back-burn just a few hundred feet from homes. 

“Concentrations of bushes, small trees that can catch and torch out, clean those out and make sure whenever they back-burn the fire stays on the ground and don’t climb up the trees,” said Rocelio Iaevarra, with R&R Contractors.

Meanwhile, the fire’s southwest border near Grizzly Flat is heating up again despite milder winds. 

“The terrain, the way it is in this area, is very steep and very rugged and fire will tend to create its own weather, too,” Swart said. “And that terrain-driven wind is what we’ve got our eyes on right now.”

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