September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Crews rely on granite, fuel-clearing fire lines to slow Caldor Fire spread

Wildfire Watch

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — The Caldor Fire made a Wednesday afternoon push to the south fork of the American River along Highway 50 near White Hall.

Firefighters described this flare-up as a finger of fire with the forest to the east and west of it already burned.

“We’ve got some hotshot crews and a lot of engines that are trying to cut this finger of fire off. One of our biggest fears is that fire jumping across the highway. So, we have a bunch of heavy equipment, dozers, masticators, trying to do a contingency line on the north side of Highway 50 here as well,” explained Beale Monday of the U.S. Forest Service while pointing to different areas of the map.

The wind was a concern as afternoon gusts fanned the flames. But as of Wednesday evening, the fire had not jumped to the north side of Highway 50 near Ice House Road.

Farther to the east, the Caldor Fire continues to burn north of Kyburz and Twin Bridges.

“This fire, with the amount of fire activity we’ve seen the last 48 hours, has really started to turn and come back toward Wrights Lake,” Monday said.

Wrights lake is a beautiful forest getaway with campsites and cabins.

Looking across Wrights Lake to the northeast, through the smoke are views of Desolation Wilderness where there’s a lot of granite that provides a natural fire break. Firefighters are not just relying on the granite to stop the fire from spreading.

“Our goal right here is to continue to have fire line up into the wilderness area to tie into some of those big granite fields up there to keep the fire from progressing further to the east and to prevent fire from coming back to the west,” Monday explained. “So, we’re coming up with another hand line or dozer line up into the granite rocks up here.”

The fire line is a wide path cleared by dozers removing anything that could burn, which is a key line of defense to prevent the Caldor Fire from reaching the west shore of Lake Tahoe.

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