Update: 55-acre Smartsville vegetation fire contained (VIDEO)
July 12, 2013
Highway 50 closed in Meyers due to grass fire:
U.S. Highway 50 has been closed in Meyers because of a grass fire producing heavy smoke, making the area unsafe for motorists, according to Caltrans.
Eastbound traffic is being held at Sly Park Road in Pollock Pines and westbound traffic is being held in Meyers, just west of South Lake Tahoe.
The fire started in a rural section of the highway between White Hall and Kyburz. It is spreading east. The CHP is reporting that the fire started when a vehicle blew a tire.
There are no detours in place yet and no estimated time when the highway will reopen. Follow Caltrans on Twitter @D3PIO for the latest updates.
Air tankers and ground crews were able to contain an estimated 55-acre vegetation blaze, which collaborating fire agencies battled for hours Monday.
"There is a line around the fire to prevent its forward spread," said Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff Monday afternoon. "When we call it controlled, that is when fire crews are no longer working on it."
Only an outbuilding was damaged Monday and no injuries were reported, Tolmachoff said.
The fire was first reported at just before 10 a.m. at 15 acres, but by 1 p.m. the inferno had grown to 55 acres, Tolmachoff said. A final estimate of total acreage had not been determined as of press time. Tolmachoff estimated that crews would be attending to hot spots for several days to completely stamp out the blaze.
While no evacuations were reported by Cal Fire, Tolmachoff said that two structures were threatened.
"They were able to mitigate the problem before there was a need for any formal evacuation," she said.
A freelance photographer, Annita Kasparian, told The Union that animals from a ranch on Hammonton-Smartsville Road had been evacuated. She said the ranch belonged to Dennis and Cammy Jacobson.
"The issues we were having is right now the temperatures have come up since this started and we are seeing some winds," Tolmachoff said earlier in the day amid the battle with the blaze.
As the fire spread from McGanney Lane all the way to Highway 20, the California Department of Transportation initially closed that road in both directions at Hammonton-Smartsville Road. By the afternoon, Tolmachoff said that the eastbound lane had been reopened under the guidance of traffic control, while westbound traffic was being diverted through Smartsville. Cal Trans indicated that the traffic control could last until around 8 p.m. in a Tweet.
"They are doing traffic control with a lead car," she said. "People are getting through, but there is a good chance they will get delayed going through there."
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but Tolmachoff said the investigation will be ongoing.
Cal Fire enlisted the help of aerial fire fighting methods as well as neighboring fire fighting agencies from Marysville, Smartsville, Penn Valley, Linda, Nevada County Consolidated, a helicopter from the Tahoe National Forest and a water tender from Beale Air Force Base, Tolmachoff said.
Grass fire closes Highway 50 in Meyers
A fire on the north side of the highway closed down Highway 50 at the Sand Flat Campground in Pollock Pines, between South Lake Tahoe and Placerville, Monday.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Kyburz Fire in the Eldorado National Forest was between 40-50 acres as of press time. Eight air tankers and five helicopters were assigned to the blaze.
The fire started in a rural section of the highway between White Hall and Kyburz, spreading east. The CHP is reporting that the fire started when a vehicle blew a tire.
Several small vegetation fires were quickly contained over the holiday weekend.
A 50 by 50 spot in thick grass and blackberries was contained at about 2:45 p.m. Friday in a field between Highway 20 and Searls Avenue.
There was a small vegetation fire that spread into a wood pile at about 7 p.m. Sunday, that was threatening a structure on Donald Avenue nears Slate Creek Road. That fire was contained and the cause remains under investigation.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.