September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Crews continue to battle Caldor Fire as it heads along Highway 50 toward Strawberry

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Saturday, Aug. 28

8:10 p.m.

Cal Fire officials say the Caldor Fire is 152,545 acres in size and is 19% contained. 642 structures have been threatened, with another 18,346 threatened.


Original story below:

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Fire strike teams are making slow progress in containing the Caldor Fire, which has now reached 144,000 acres. 

The fire is now marching eastward toward the community of Strawberry on both sides of Highway 50. 

Crews were creating defensible space around cabins in the area and dispersing more flammable materials Friday. 

More resources were being sent to the area, with 3,200 firefighters now on the job, 400 more than yesterday. 

Crews had to make their way through a blanket of smoke, with visibility at times less than 200 feet, making it slow going for crews and equipment that are being shuttled into the area. 

Flames 100 feet across the south fork of the American River could barely be seen. 

But the presence of thick smoke isn’t all bad, acting as a sign of an inversion layer with calmer winds. 

In areas of the containment line, the fire moved slowly on the ground.  Gusts of winds through canyons every few minutes was bad news for firefighters.

Winds can send flames up into the treetops, crowning behavior means the fire burns hotter and can spread more quickly. 

A big weapon has been a fleet of bulldozers clearing a boundary for the fire since firefighters can’t reach the flames in tough terrain, but it can be hit or miss. 

“It’s not uncommon that we get a spot fire over a dozer line or a hand line that’s been constructed,” said Caldor Fire public information officer Diana Swart.

But in many areas, the dozer lines are holding. 

One constant menace for fire crews on this fire is called roll-out, where trees crash to the ground and roll down hill spreading flames as they go. 

Crews were working hard to save homes in the Sly Park area Thursday, with things looking better Friday. 

Leah and Bruce Stovaugh left their home 12 days ago and haven’t been back since, staying at a hotel in Rancho Cordova. They come to the Fire Information Center in Placerville every day to check on the fire’s progress. 

“A couple of days ago it was 50-50,” Bruce Stovaugh said. “Now I’m 90% sure now we’ll have a home to go back to.”

That is the hope of homeowners in Kyburz and Strawberry as well. 

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