Sacto 9-1-1
December 2, 2011
Cal Fire, Forest Service crews gain on fires as winds die down

Wind-driven fires have burned more than 300 acres in El Dorado County and the Eldorado National Forest since Thursday morning, but officials say they are gaining the upper hand as winds taper off today.

"The high winds predicted for today did not occur. Luckily, they were wrong," said Teri Mizuhara, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's Amador-El Dorado Unit.

North and northeast wind gusts that neared 75 mph over ridge tops caused fires to spread rapidly in the Pollock Pines, Grizzly Flat and Omo Ranch areas of El Dorado County. Cal Fire crews, along with the U.S. Forest Service and several local fire departments, have been fighting fires that have burned approximately 160 acres. Mizuhara said a house that had been unoccupied for some time and an out building burned in the Omo fire in the Omo Ranch area, but no other structures are threatened.

In addition, U.S. Forest Service crews are managing six fires that burned from private land onto Eldorado National Forest lands. Forest Service spokeswoman Anna Callahan said some of the fires resulted from prescribed burns on private land that spread onto federal land, and one fire was caused by a downed power line. She said three of the fires have been contained, but crews continue to fight the Long John and Blacksmith fires in the Georgetown Ranger District in the Ralston Ridge area, and the Salt fire in the Amador Ranger District near Salt Springs reservoir.

Callahan said the fires have not threatened structures.

Forest Supervisor Kathy Hardy also reported that many Forest Service roads are impassible because of downed trees and advised the public to be alert to hazardous conditions. Officials said fire containment will take priority over opening roads for public travel.

If winds continue to cooperate, Cal Fire crews hope to have the El Dorado County fires contained Saturday, Mizuhara said. The status of those fires this afternoon:

• Sciaroni fire, in Grizzly Flat, 80 acres, 60 percent contained

• Groovy fire, off Highway 50 near Plum Creek Road, 44 acres, 60 percent contained

• Onyx fires, three fires totaling approximately 15 acres off Sly Park Road and Onyx Drive in Pollock Pines, 80 percent contained

• Creek fire, off Park Creek Road and Old Carson Road in Pollock Pines, 8 acres, 80 percent contained

• Kirk fire, on Stinson Road in the Omo Ranch area, 5 acres, 90 percent contained

• Omo fire, on Omo Ranch road, 3 acres, fully contained.

• Windward fire, on Windward Way in Diamond Springs, a half-acre, 90 percent contained

• Boondock fire, a spot fire on Boondock Trail in Fairplay, fully contained.

Cal Fire reported that six fires in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties had burned more than 300 acres by late this morning.

The two largest are the Blue Mountain fire, on Blue Mountain Lookout Road, southeast of West Point in Calaveras County, which has burned 200 acres of timber at was reported to be 10 percent contained, and the East fire, 10 miles east of West Point, which has burned 80 acres and is 40 percent contained.

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