Reinforcements called in to help fight wildfire burning in Eldorado National Forest

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GEORGETOWN, Calif. (KTXL) — With so many fires burning at the same time, resources have been spread thin across the state. 

As of Monday, the Fork Fire had been burning for a week and started out with just 59 crewmembers assigned to fighting it.

Recently, that number has jumped to 300 personnel, with some of those first responders camping out at a command center, standing ready in case flames spread.

As of Monday night, the Fork Fire was 7% contained. There is concern the wind could push the fire past containment lines and into residential areas, something crews are working hard to avoid.

For those that live in Quintette, they worry about reliving a scene of the past. 

“It’s so stressful,” said resident Danny Campbell.

It was just six years ago when flames from the King Fire forced them to evacuate. The burn scar can still be seen near the Stumpy Meadows Reservoir. 

Now, there’s concern the same area can engulf again, with its rugged slopes, thick vegetation and burned trees that remain from the 2014 blaze.

“It’s super steep terrain and there are literally millions of snags that are still standing from the fire,” said Steven Lasky, with the Bureau of Land Management. “Creates a great hazard, a great danger to firefighters.”

The concern Monday night was the wind. It tested containment lines that have held the fire to just over 1,700 acres. 

So, federal and state agencies have called in reinforcements to protect properties outside the Eldorado National Forest.

“In the beginning of this fire, we had a real problem getting resources for obvious reasons. The whole west is burning,” Lasky told FOX40. “We only had 59 people on the fire, no air support at all. So over the past four days, we’ve kind of increased on the priority scale.”

Some homeowners in Quintette already spent part of last week in an emergency shelter as flames burned to the west.

“It was kind of a panic and a rush,” Campbell recalled. “Everybody packed up their stuff and followed each other down the canyon.”

Those evacuation orders have since been lifted but fire officials said the threat to area homes is not over.

Neighbors have had their to-go bags waiting by the front door just in case they need to leave in a moment’s notice.

“I have clothes packed and I have the papers ready. So if it does come in here, I’m out of here,” said Quintette resident Jim Rommel.

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