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Nevada County Relief Fund raises over $260K for wildfire recovery

 

In the two months since the Aug. 4 River Fire burned 2,619 acres, destroyed 54 homes, and damaged nine others in Nevada County, the community raised over $260,000 to help wildfire survivors.

Donations to the Nevada County Relief Fund came from over 600 generous local donors, businesses, and community groups, including $50,000 from the Placer Community Foundation.

“Together, we’ve rallied to support our neighbors who lost their homes. Our community didn’t hesitate for a moment to support the River Fire survivors,” said Leo Granucci, co-chair of the Nevada County Relief Fund’s Community Advisory Council, in a press release.

Community leaders stepped up to raise funds in a myriad of creative ways. The Nevada County Professional Fire Fighters donated $3,104 that they gathered in a boot at the Nevada County Fair. The Greater Alta Sierra Neighborhood Watch Group organized multiple yard sales to raise over $3,000.

“We have a caring community, and our group was happy to rally around a good cause,” said Watch Group Coordinator Jolly Lawson.

Many local businesses donated to the wildfire relief fund, including Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply.

“We were very pleased to help support the Nevada County Relief Fund with a $7,000 donation following the River and Bennet fires. We offered a seed pack sale to our national customer base with 100% of proceeds going to local fire relief efforts, and they responded to help our community here in a big way,” said Peaceful Valley’s president, Bill Hageman.

Nevada County recognized the need to help devastated households recover from their losses and partnered with Connecting Point to provide case management services to River Fire survivors.

“‘Connecting Point’s River Fire Navigators’ have been working one-on-one with nearly 50 households to walk them through the recovery process, including applying for Nevada County Relief Fund monies,” said Tim Giuliani, executive director of Connecting Point.

The navigators reviewed applications to the Relief Fund and recommended eligible applicants for funding. They have also helped survivors navigate the county, state and federal rebuilding processes, connected them with all available resources, and provided a physical place to print, fax, email, and copy documents needed to hasten their recovery.

“We’ve spoken with so many people who needed funds to help replace prescription eyeglasses, bedding, clothing, kitchen items, shoes, et cetera, and they are so appreciative of the Relief Fund,” said Sarah Eastberg, Connecting Point’s navigation and employment services manager.

Sarah Eastberg shared some of the stories and appreciation she and her navigator colleagues have heard since the fire:

One resident did not have time to gather anything before she had to run from her home, as her driveway was blocked by flames. She ran into the river with one of her dogs and waited for help. The Relief Fund will help her purchase a trailer to live in during the rebuilding process. With the help of her navigator, she has obtained legal assistance and is in the process of registering with FEMA.

Another River Fire survivor left her home in flip flops and lost everything. She moved her family into a trailer, but there was no space for her large dogs. The Relief Fund has helped pay for dog kennels and some household items.

An additional recipient fled her home without her dentures. No other agency besides the Relief Fund would cover the cost to replace them.

A resident who raises pigs lost her pig enclosures in the fire. When she learned that the Relief Fund would pay for new pig pens, she said, “This could not have happened at a better time. Three of my baby pigs broke out of the burnt fence and I was chasing them around for three hours.”

And several shared their gratitude: “I wanted to say thank you for getting our deposit and first month’s rent covered! That is incredibly helpful!” and “I wish there was a way we could show more appreciation for what you guys are doing for us.”

Supporting the survivors with their recovery will take time. With winter coming, Connecting Point Navigators expect to draw on the Relief Fund to help survivors buy winter clothes, jackets, and boots. Many survivors are anxious to return home but must wait until the debris removal process is complete, the soil has been tested, and their property has been cleared as no longer hazardous and dangerous. The navigators have spent a lot of time being a listening ear and managing the expectations of folks who thought they would be back on their land or rebuilding by now.

“Our navigators have walked with survivors through every step of the very long process so far,” said Eastberg. “They have shared in people’s excitement in recovery as well as their frustration, sadness, and bewilderment as their own personal loss begins to weigh more heavily. We are looking forward to continuing through their journey of rebuilding over the next few years and providing clarity and peace to a very complicated process.”

Nevada County residents impacted by the River Fire can dial 2-1-1 (or 1-833-342-5211) to speak to a Connecting Point Navigator and explore the support available.

About the Nevada County Relief Fund

The Nevada County Relief Fund was created through a partnership between Nevada County, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, the Sierra Business Council, Center for Nonprofit Leadership, and the Economic Resource Council.

The fund was established in April 2020 with a $100,000 “challenge grant” from the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, the Relief Fund has raised $1.3 million to help dozens of small businesses and nonprofits countywide. Last August, the Relief Fund raised over $30,000 for Jones Fire relief efforts.

Source: Nevada County Relief Fund

‘A great addition’: Sierra College unveils new fire training tower

Sierra College’s Nevada County Campus celebrated the unveiling of its new fire training tower with a live demonstration given to members of the community Tuesday evening on the college’s grounds, behind Grass Valley Fire Station No. 2. Fire program administrators, as well as Grass Valley/Nevada City Fire Chief Mark Buttron and congressman Doug LaMalfa, spoke during the ribbon cutting ceremony. “It’s a great addition to the training grounds here that are used on a daily basis,” Buttron said.
Photo: Elias Funez
Firefighters helped demonstrate a live fire in the training tower, as well as a window bail out and a rappel down the side of the tower. This is the only fire training tower in Nevada County, and it is approved by the state of California.
Photo: Elias Funez
Community members in attendance watch and applaud the Tuesday demonstration of the new Sierra College Fire Training Tower.
Photo: Elias Funez
Community members watch the live fire demonstration inside the new Sierra College Fire Training Tower in Grass Valley.
Photo: Elias Funez
Sierra College firefighter academy students approach the fire training tower during Tuesday’s community demonstration.
Photo: Elias Funez
A firefighter demonstrates a window bail out onto a ladder during Tuesday’s fire training tower ribbon cutting ceremony at the Sierra College fire academy campus, behind Grass Valley Fire Station No. 2.
Photo: Elias Funez

‘Still at peak fire staffing’: Firefighters await a wetting rain

Grass Valley Air Attack Base’s air tanker 88 drops a red curtain of fire retardant onto the Star Fire, which burned 1.2 acres near the western edge of Grass Valley, off Shooting Star Lane, Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters are keeping an eye on the weather during the mid-October throes of the 2021 fire season.

Gusty winds and low humidity levels across Northern California have kept firefighters busy in Nevada County and beyond, suppressing vegetation fires on Beale Air Force Base and in rural Grass Valley.

STAR FIRE

The Star Fire, which started about 4 p.m. Tuesday off Shooting Star Lane, near South Ponderosa Way, sent smoke plumes into the air and alarm among residents of Grass Valley before firefighters got the blaze under control.

Bulldozers, water tenders, air tankers, and helicopters, among other firefighting, personnel helped keep the fire to 1.2 acres burned.

The cause of the Star Fire has yet to be released.

BEALE FIRE

Hours earlier firefighters responded to reports of a vegetation fire burning in light fuel and oak woodland on Beale Air Force Base property.

By 2:30 p.m. Tuesday air attack and air tankers from the Grass Valley Interagency Air Attack Base were en route to Beale, making retardant drops to help protect the nearby base housing, which evacuated out of caution.

The fire was kept to 40 to 50 acres with forward progress of the fire stopped within an hour.

CALDOR FIRE

The Caldor Fire – which started Aug. 18, burned hundreds of homes along the Highway 50 corridor and threatened South Lake Tahoe – is now 98% contained, according to El Dorado National Forest authorities.

Firefighters were responding to smoke reports in the Strawberry Creek area and continued with suppression repair, hazard tree removal, and mop up while keeping an eye on potential fire weather, including high winds and low humidity levels.

Winds reaching 99 miles per hour were recorded just south of Kirkwood Ski Resort Tuesday night, a news release states.

Over 1,000 firefighting personnel continue to watch over and conduct mop up along 200 miles of containment lines.

FIRE WEATHER

Firefighters will be keeping a close watch on the community during today’s potentially critical fire weather conditions – gusty winds and low humidity levels – which will be more persistent closer to the Sacramento Valley.

A wetting rain is needed to reduce the risk of wildfires.

“Obviously it’s cooler, but any kind of humidity is being dried out,” Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Public Information Officer Mary Eldridge said.

“Until we get a wetting rain, we’re still at peak fire staffing.”

A Red Flag Warning is being issued for the western Sacramento Valley from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, with northerly wind gusts of up to 20 to 30 mph expected.

Light rain showers are being forecast Monday for the northern Sacramento Valley and adjacent foothills and mountains, with some snow forecast for elevations between 6,000 to 7,000 feet.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email efunez@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230

Al Stahler: Fire and people

 

Planet Earth is ancient – a good four-and-a-half billion years old. Fire, though, has existed for only a small fraction of that time. Most of Earth history has been free of fire – flame-free.

Fire requires fuel: Atoms of carbon and hydrogen, glued together, ready to combine with oxygen. But carbon and hydrogen rarely combine on their own. Most carbon and hydrogen must be glued together by living things. The world needs life to make fuel … fire requires life.

Life evolved on Earth fast – amazingly fast. Of the four-and-a-half billion years that Earth has circled the sun, life has lived close to four. Yet, for most of life’s four billion years on Earth, there was no fire.

You and I can live for a month, maybe two, without food. But we can live only two, maybe three, days without water. We’ve inherited our need for water from our ancestors of four billion years ago.

Until very recently, life could survive only if constantly wet, inside and out. Which meant that life could live only in an ocean, a lake, or a stream. Dry land was no place for life. And, without life, there was no fuel on land.

Some hundreds of millions of years ago – pretty recently, relative to the age of the Earth – plants colonized the land. With some sort of “skin”, plants could be moist inside, dry on the outside. And, when they died, their insides could dry out, too. Dry fuel could now build up.

Stephen Pyne is professor emeritus (emeritus = “retired”) at Arizona State University, and a historian of fire. Pyne writes how nearly every part of our planet has experienced fire in three ways, one way after another.

Before the arrival of humans to a landscape, fuels would build up; lightning would strike; the fuel would ignite; and fire would burn. Unaffected by any human action, this was First Fire.

After such a fire burned out, fuel would again build up; lightning, again, would strike; and First Fire, again, would burn. So long as no humans were around, First Fire would re-burn, over and over.

Humanity evolved in Africa, then moved out, to colonize the world. Human behavior brought a second type of fire into the world … which I’ll skip, just for a moment.

The fire we experience, every day of our lives … nearly every moment … is Third Fire. Third Fire is under control: Fire inside our machines, keeping our homes warm, our food cooked, our engines running. (Pyne includes many other uses of fossil biomass in Third Fire (or the “Big Burn”), especially, agricultural fertilizers and pesticides. With apologies, I’m simplifying greatly here).

Where First Fire took place “untouched by human hands” (and still does, where possible), Third Fire would disappear without human manipulation.

With Third Fire under control, we are the masters: We turn fire on and off; we tell fire what to burn, where to burn, when to burn.

But, something … is not quite right. Things are out of balance. Pollution spreads. And forests burn, where and when and how, we’d rather they not.

This week, we celebrated the discovery of the new world … North America, South America. When did that happen? Archeologists debate the date; the discovery was made, at the very least, twenty thousand years ago.

The climate was different, twenty-thousand years ago; at the height of the last ice age, much water was locked up in ice. Sea level was down, opening up land bridges between Asia and the Americas: People could walk from the old world to the new.

Today, with most of the ice melted off, sea level is again high. The route that people took to the Americas is likely under water … up by Alaska, beneath the Bering Sea.

Birds build nests … bees build hives … bears make dens. But we humans do things big-time. We change whole environments, to make it easier to live, easier to make shelter, easier to find food. The most effective tool for making such changes – for the first Americans, for the first humans anywhere – the most effective, most powerful tool, was fire. With time, people could experiment with fire … learn to use fire … learn to live with fire: Second Fire. Second Fire allowed native Americans to mold wild continents into livable landscapes … landscapes that most of us take for granted, that we think of as normal … as natural. But this landscape was created, by humans, and it is disappearing, with the disappearance of Second Fire.

It is debatable whether we, today, understand the workings of the natural world, and the workings of fire, well enough to prescribe how to burn … whether, perhaps, we should focus on protecting homes and towns, and allow nature to take its course, everywhere else.

The native Californians who, until very recently, maintained the foothill landscape we take for granted are still here … they call themselves Nisenan.

IN THE SKY

This Saturday is International Observe-the-Moon Night. Local astronomers will set up scopes at the junction of SR49 and the old Downieville Hwy at 7 p.m. Free — bring the kids.

Al Stahler enjoys sharing science and nature with friends and neighbors in The Union and on KVMR-FM. He teaches classes for both kids and grown-ups, and can be reached at a.a.stahler11@gmail.com

Fire seasons in Africa divide desert and grassland, grassland and forest.
Photo courtesy NASA/GSFC
Fire seasons in Africa divide desert and grassland, grassland and forest.
Photo courtesy NASA/GSFC

Forest Service: Caldor Fire 98% contained

From the U.S. Forest Service - Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Facebook page.

The Caldor Fire is 98% contained, the U.S. Forest Service reported Wednesday.

Dry and cold weather, along with low humidity levels, kept firefighters on alert and influenced fire behavior, the U.S. Forest Service wrote in an incident report.

Fire managers are focusing on suppression repair, hazard tree removal and mop-up, the U.S. Forest Service wrote in an incident report.

Repair actions will focus near Echo Lake, Upper Forni Meadows, Trimmer Peak, Schneider Camp Road, Silver Lake, Scout Peak and south of Highway 88, the report stated. Repair efforts include removing hazard trees and slash, clearing culverts, repairing dozer and hand line to limit future erosion concerns. Night patrols will continue along Highway 50 north.

A drying trend and higher temperatures are expected this weekend. The report states that “a return to visible pockets of smoke and possible individual and group tree torching,” is also possible this weekend.

“The fire will likely continue to creep and smoldering within the fire area long into the winter,” the report stated. ”Please do not report this activity as it can take resources away from more critical needs.“

CLOSURES

Road and area closures along with fire restrictions are in effect throughout many areas of the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, the report stated.

ELDORADO NATIONAL FOREST:

Forest Order 03-21-18 – Area, Road, and Trail Closure

Forest Order 03-21-16 – Fire Restrictions

Forest Order 03-21-17 – Camping Prohibition

LAKE TAHOE BASIN MANAGEMENT UNIT (LTBMU):

Forest Order 19-21-06 –Emergency Closure

Forest Order 19-21-07 – Backcountry Closure

Forest Order 19-21-01 – Fire Restrictions

Fire causes evacuations at Beale Air Force Base

UPDATE at 3:53 p.m. Tuesday

From a news release:

A wildfire impacting the installation began at approximately 1:30 p.m. resulting in a partial evacuation of base housing, west of Camp Beale HWY.

At this time, the base fire department is on scene with the assistance of Cal Fire and other local fire departments. There are no structural damages to on-base facilities at this time.

Cal Fire has been requested to provide aerial support.

On-base residents and base personnel in the area of the fire have been alerted to evacuate to the Recce Point Club and the Harris Fitness Center.

Individuals that need to transit the installation are asked to do so only if necessary. Please avoid west of Camp Beale HWY and north of Chuck Yeager Road.

Initially posted

A vegetation fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at Beale Air Force Base, causing some base housing to be evacuated out of caution.

The fire is reportedly 40 to 50 acres in size. Grass Valley Air Attack 230 and Tankers 88 and 89 fought the fire from the skies.

Firefighters on scene report that forward progress has been stopped.

Note: Photo courtesy Annita Kasparian

Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit reports the fire is 20% contained.

UPDATE: Evacuation warnings lifted in North San Juan; Highway 49 reopened

Update 3:09 p.m.:

Highway 49 has reopened, according to a tweet from Caltrans.

Update 2:41 p.m.:

The evacuation warnings for zones NCO-E327 and NCO-E389 in North San Juan have been lifted, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. Use caution as there are still emergency personnel working in the area.

Update 2:35 p.m.:

CHP incident logs reporting firefighters have a “good knock down” on the Miners Fire.


Initially Posted:

A fire in North San Juan prompted evacuation warnings and the closure of Highway 49 Monday afternoon.

Zones NCO-E327 and NCO-E389 are under evacuation warnings, according to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services.


The Miners Fire began around 2 p.m. in the area of Drunken Miners Road and Highway 49. Scanner reports indicated the fire was made of two spot fires, with the largest spot being 50-by-50 feet.


For the latest evacuation information, go to community.zonehaven.com.

For the most up to date information on the Miners Fire, go to The Union Now.

Keeping up the guard: Officials say a wetting rain is needed before area turns corner on fire season

Grass Valley air attack 230 and air tanker 88 sit ready to respond to local incidents earlier this month at the Nevada County Airport. Local officials say despite cooler temperatures and some light rain, the area isn’t out of fire season yet.
Photo: Elias Funez

Cooler temperatures have graced the Sierra and her foothills, but local firefighters remain vigilant.

“Cooler does not mean wetter,” Cal Fire Public Information Officer Mary Eldridge said, adding that the Northern California region has not reached the moisture levels required to turn a corner in the 2021 fire season.

Eldridge, with the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Cal Fire Unit, said that the low pressure trough the region is currently experiencing will eventually break down.

“After Sunday, another trough will take effect,” Eldridge said, adding that the total precipitation expected from the two separate fronts will not amount to even a quarter-inch. “We’re looking at 0.15 (inches) from scattered showers.”

Elridge said rain needs to saturate the fuels before the odds turn against fires’ favor, and Cal Fire chooses to release its supplemental support.

Wind, which is expected to hit the foothills Monday, will dry any superficially damp fuels right away, Elridge said.

“Until we get a good wetting rain, I would not say we have turned a corner in any way,” Eldridge said.

DESTRUCTIVE FIRES

According to Higgins Fire Protection District Chief Jerry Good, the Grass Valley/Nevada City area has received less rain this year than normal, leading fire behaviorists to remain weary of northern winds.

“Some of our most destructive fires were in October and November,” Good said, explaining how important it is that first responders and residents remember the risk this late into the fall. “Paradise was in November.”

Eric Kurth, an incident meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said fire danger is possible in cooler temperatures, though he hopes raised humidity levels in the area — even with minimal rain — will mitigate considerable risk.

“The winds aren’t really strong, and the likelihood of moist air mass in general may even wet some of the fuels,” Kurth said.

According to Kurth, western Nevada County may receive some light showers this afternoon. Highs will reach 57. Saturday and Sunday will be a bit warmer, 64 and 69, respectively, before temperatures drop back to 60 on Monday.

Kurth said areas further from the Sierra, like Sacramento and the North Joaquin Valley, are at greater risk because of northeastern winds in the higher Sierra in some of the canyons and ridges.

“We’re not expecting it to be very strong,” Kurth said, adding that gusts would peak Tuesday at 30 to 35 miles per hour on the ridge.

In the east, Truckee’s high on Friday is expected to be 47 accompanied by some showers. Saturday’s high peaks at 54 and Sunday at 60.

Temperatures at night are well below freezing, with a low of 27 expected Saturday morning, 26 Sunday morning and 25 Monday morning. After Monday’s high of 42, Tuesday morning will drop to 15 degrees.

The Dixie Fire has burned 963,309 acres across five northern counties and is 94% contained. The second largest fire in California’s recorded history is well over the size of the state of Rhode Island. So far, 2.4 million ares of California have burned this year

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com

COVID and fires: The pandemic has had long-term effects to local businesses, while others seem to be bracing for what may be an extended fire season

Mike Crow, owner of North Lake Tahoe Boat Rentals, lost $150,000 in revenue due to both cancellations and necessary pausing of operations due to the Caldor Fire.
Jill Dempsey

During the height of the Caldor Fire, the Truckee/Tahoe area experienced a dramatic shift in tourism due to smoke, forest closures, and the necessity of a clear exit for evacuees coming from South Lake.

These events had adverse effects for many tourist industries that had also been hit hard by the pandemic, and right before “slow season,” when tourism takes a downward trend after it spikes in the summertime.

In late August, as well as early September, many businesses that are driven by tourism, the outdoor industry in particular, were experiencing high volume cancellations. Some businesses had even paused their operations as the entire area braced themselves for the Caldor Fire.

Many of these businesses were also forced to shut down at the start of the pandemic. For those that were able to recover, the fires had added another obstacle to overcome.

Mike Crow, owner of North Lake Tahoe Boat Rentals, had lost $150,000 in revenue due to both cancellations and necessary pausing of operations due to the Caldor Fire. Crow stated that there are only about 90 days of prime time for his business to bring in revenue, and 30% of that was now lost, causing his business to break even for the summer.

“We don’t wanna be inviting people for tourism when everybody else is leaving their houses,” said Crow, “and my employees live here, so I also have to try to give them a living wage while we’re closed.”

Crow also looked for any kind of potential compensation for having to close his business due to the fires, but had only found funding for damaged structures. “Nothing to do with lost wages or lost revenue,” he said.

Although Crow believes that the pandemic has actually resulted in an uptick in tourism, it has also affected his businesses in the amount of cleaning that has now become apart of regular duties.

“Employees have to go earlier and stay later to keep the boats as clean as possible,” he said. “But if we have to hit every nook and cranny now multiple times to try to make sure everything is killed, it costs that much more in labor and products.”

Steven Gomez masks up for work
Steven Gomez

Crow is worried that the pause in tourism may become a regular occurrence in the summer months for years to come.

“Changing going forward, we’re going to try to operate a little bit slimmer — which I don’t want to do,” he said. “But having to support more employees only puts a bigger strain on my business. So if we can operate on a little bit thinner payroll, we’re gonna have to because you never know what’s going to happen come smoke season.”

‘A LOT OF EXTRA TIME’

Natalie Tseko, small business owner of Nat’s All That, nearly lost her business this past year to the pandemic. Tseko offers services such as home staging, cleaning, and childcare — but over half of her business caters to vacationers in the Tahoe area.

One of the biggest hits to Tseko’s business was in hospitality. She had previously cleaned and managed 14 Airbnbs, but only managed to keep business with one of them, mostly due to newly enforced cleaning procedures.

“The cleaning was going to take a lot of extra time, and I think a lot of the owners just didn’t want to deal with the new standards.”

Tseko said that half of her revenue was slashed over the past year and that her staff had gone from a total of 13 people to just four, due to both a lack of work and also the increase in the cost of living. As a result, some of her staff have moved to more affordable areas in different states. During the Caldor Fire, Tseko also received several cancellations as parents did not want their children inhaling smoke from the fire.

Alpenglow Expeditions, a local mountain guiding service that operates in Olympic Valley, also had significant impacts to its operations during the late summer months. It had around 50 cancellations both due to shutdowns and also tourists who canceled their trips because of hazardous smoke conditions.

The agency had shut down for a week and was also unable to continue its rock guiding for the entirety of the National Forest closure, according to Alpenglow Expeditions California Programs Manager Sara Sheltz.

Despite this, Alpenglow Expeditions still paid its salaried guides during the shutdown, and paid all guides for half of their workdays when cancellations happened last minute — despite the cost to the business, said Sheltz. After heavy smoke in 2020, Alpenglow realized that it would need to prepare for more potential fire seasons in the future and now recommends canceling at an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 300 due to health hazards, unless both the guide and the clients are willing to accept the health risks.

“The smoke puts the guides in a bad position because it can be hazardous to their health, but they also rely on the work.” said Sheltz.

The Via Feratta suspension bridge overlooking Olympic Valley
Isaac Laredo

Blake Hunter, local fly fishing guide and server at FiftyFifty Brewing, is happy to be working after the pandemic shutdowns.

“I can’t say I enjoy seeing our small towns become overwhelmed by the dramatic increase in population change and tourist travel, but we did need it this year to help us move forward,” he said. “The mass exodus that occurred from the Caldor Fire was like nothing I’ve ever seen in our area.

“We used to regularly see a slow season, but this fire gave us that on a whole different level,” he added. “It was extremely depressing and nerve wracking watching our fellow South Lake locals deal with such unprecedented times. The scene around here was apocalyptic at times with crazy high AQI levels. Restaurants and local businesses were dead and rightfully so.“

Hunter lost 14 fly fishing guide trips, but he said that most are planning on coming back another time when the AQI levels are lower. He added that although this was a loss for his business, the safety of those evacuating South Lake were of utmost importance.

“It’s a bummer, but there was so much more to be concerned about during that time, including doing whatever you could for the evacuees.” said Hunter.

Elizabeth White is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of The Union

Caldor Fire update: Over 221K acres burned, 93% contained (video)

Caldor Fire daily briefing map, Oct. 6.
Provided by the U.S Forest Service - El Dorado National Forest

The Caldor Fire in the El Dorado National Forest has been burning for more than 50 days, the U.S. Forest Service wrote in an incident report released Wednesday morning.

The fire has burned 221,775 acres and is 93% contained, according to the report. Full containment is expected by Oct. 16.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday all evacuation orders and warnings in the county had been lifted, though a closure order on much of the Eldorado National Forest around the Caldor burn area remains in place.

Currently, 1,308 firefighters are fighting the fire, and working on suppression and repair, the forest service report states. An estimated 49,800 people were evacuated during the Caldor Fire’s peak. The report states that 782 structures have been destroyed, and another 81 structures were damaged.

According to the report, the upcoming wet weather forecast for the region will not be much help in putting out the fire.

“Due to continued extreme/exceptional drought conditions, this moisture will slow the surface spread of the fire, however, it will do little to extinguish the fire,” the report states.

The forest service announced a Community Facebook Live meeting will be held today at 5 p.m. at the U.S. Forest Service – Eldorado National Forest’s Facebook page.

USDACaldorFireUpdate.pdf