Briefs 7/14/07 |

Briefs 7/14/07

Death Ride to test cyclists Saturday

Ride covers 129 miles over five Sierra passes

Triple-digit temperatures are predicted to greet cyclists for this weekend’s annual Tour of the California Alps, also known as the Death Ride.

The event, sponsored by the Alta Alpina Cycling Club and the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce, will begin at about 5:30 a.m. Saturday at the start/finish line at Turtle Rock Park in Markleville.

Riders who accept the challenge of covering all 129 miles will climb 15,000 feet over five passes, including Monitor Pass (8,314-foot elevation), Ebbetts Pass (8,730) and Carson Pass (8,560).

Annually about 4,000 people pay their entry fee to enter a lottery in which 3,000 riders are selected to participate in the event.

Alta Alpina president Jennie Hamiter said there are many reasons for why so many riders are attracted to the event.

“Certainly the challenge is No. 1,” she said.

The name Death Ride is another drawing card, Hamiter said. “It gives it a certain mystique and a certain amount of fame,” she said.

” Sierra Sun staff

Lightning-caused fires all under control

By Andrew Cristancho

Sierra Sun

Firefighters have now contained all 26 fires in the Tahoe National Forest that were ignited by Tuesday’s lightning storm, a U.S. Forest Service official said Thursday.

On Wednesday, 200 firefighters including eight smokejumpers, and more than a dozen fire engines were deployed to attack the mostly small spot fires, said Forest Service spokeswoman Ann Westling.

The largest fire scorched 5 acres near the city of Loyalton. Firefighters contained the blaze, dubbed the Silver Fire, by Thursday morning.

Most of the fires occurred in the east side of the Tahoe National Forest between Sierraville and Truckee, following the path of a powerful thunderstorm that was responsible for many of the 411 lightning strokes recorded in the national forest Tuesday.

Forest Service planes dropped fire retardant at least once and helicopters flew numerous missions on Wednesday. A reconnaissance plane took to the sky again on Thursday morning but spotted no new lightning smokes.

The Forest Service received support from Sierra City fire department, the California Department of Forestry, a contract crew called Fire Storm and contract engines from Fire Stop. According to an e-mail from Westling, all support units are now headed back to their home agencies.

The weather has cooperated, with no new thunderstorms expected soon near the Truckee area. Westerly winds are expected to gust over 20 mph the next three nights.

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