Matthew Renda

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August 12, 2013
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Smoke from American Fire infiltrates foothills

UPDATE: Story has been updated to reflect latest information available in terms of size the American Fire and the scope of the firefighting efforts.

The American Fire burning in a remote portion of the Tahoe National Forest about 17 miles northeast of Foresthill is emitting voluminous amounts of smoke, some of which has traveled south to western Nevada County.

“Interestingly, two plumes of smoke are evident,” the National Weather Service Sacramento wrote on its Facebook page. “One is blowing down the Sierra with smoke being reported in Auburn. The other is blowing northward with smoke being reported in Nevada City and evident over Blue Canyon and Downieville.”

Both the Nevada County Air District and the Placer County Air Pollution Control District either have issued or are expected to issue air quality advisories today, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Forest Service.

The 1,750-acre fire, which has grown rapidly from a 40-acre fire Sunday afternoon, is burning in a heavily forested area of very steep terrain on Deadwood Ridge.

The precipitous topography in the area is making it difficult for smokejumpers to access the fire, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

On Sunday, the fire crossed the northern prong of the Middle Fork of the American River and is pushing toward the Last Chance area.

Firefighters reported a moderate rate of spread with short uphill runs Sunday, and more of the same was expected Monday, the forest service reports.

Overnight, firefighters made progress on line construction.

The forest service and Cal Fire have deployed engines, crews, dozers, air tankers and helicopters to combat the blaze.

A total personnel of 318 is on scene. Multiple Forest Service and Cal Fire personnel are assigned to the fire. Currently 318 resources have been assigned including 18 crews, 16 engines, 4 helicopters, 5 dozers, 4 watertenders, and air tankers as available.

The Central Coast No. 7 Type II Incident Management Team is en route and was expected to arrive Monday.

There are no current road closures, but people are being asked to stay out of the fire area for their own safety and the safety of firefighting personnel.

The town of Foresthill is not endangered, and no evacuations have been ordered although individuals with active mining claims in the area are being contacted.

The fire started at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and the cause is still under investigation.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or 530-477-4239.

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The Union Updated Sep 1, 2013 09:59AM Published Aug 17, 2013 12:10AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.