September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Firefighters make progress in Kirkwood, Caldor Fire hotspots challenge containment lines

Wildfire Watch

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Along Highway 88 in the Kirkwood area, firefighters have made good progress, but hotspots continue to challenge containment lines.

To put out a flare-up in the area, crews pulled a long hose line from a water tender parked on the highway. Firefighters are working and living in the woods to cut down on fire response time.

“We have folks out here camping in the wilderness at night with or without tents, they’re eating MREs, they’re drinking water out of their canteens, and they’re doing it for a few days on end,” explained Cal Fire Operations Chief Erich Schwab.

Many of those who aren’t putting out flames are working on the forest floor with hand tools building containment lines or bringing down trees.

Some of the burning in the area is controlled. Firefighters have set back burns while weather conditions are favorable.

“And the goal is to eliminate all these ember and fuels, to eliminate future flareups in this area. And then we can get in and mop that up and extinguish it,” Schwab said.

Firefighters have largely kept the flames on the north side of Highway 88.

Flames have not reached the resort destinations of Silver Lake and Kirkwood, but they are creeping close to Caples Lake.

FOX40 saw three helicopters drawing water from the lake, putting out hotspots.

“Utilizing type-one helicopters in several of these pockets to keep those flares checked to buy us time to either go in and do direct hand line construction around there or just buy us time in general to figure out what the appropriate course of action is,” Schwab said.

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