Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fire Season is Not Over

The Ralston Fire may be contained. But the danger hasn't passed the Sierra Nevada foothills. Three new fires were reported within 50-60 miles of my El Dorado County home this week.

Smoke from the Ralston Fire hangs in layers in the Rubicon River Canyon (see photo). Fire officials declared the 8,423-acre fire 100 percent contained Sunday evening. Mop up and rehabilitation efforts will continue for several days.

At the time I took the picture Saturday, the fire continued to burn along an uncontrolled line beyond Ralston Ridge. Cooler temperatures and favorable wind conditions helped fire fighters gain the upper hand over the weekend.

Warm, dry north winds returned to the north state Monday. Conditions were once again ripe for new fires. Three new fires are now burning in El Dorado, Placer and Sierra counties.

It's a stark remainder that the fire season is not over for the year. The danger remains high in the Sierra Nevada foothill region.

Closer to home, the Mule Fire threatens the foothill community of Kelsey, about 6-7 miles north of Placerville on Hwy. 193. It's burning in the brush and timber slopes of the South Fork of the American River above Chili Bar.

At last report (10 a.m. on the CDF website), the California state fire department has slowed the advance of the Mule Fire. They've poured significant fire fighting resources into the fire, including a command airplane, four helicopters and a strike team of five engines from the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit of CDF.

Voluntary evacuations along Texas Canyon Road were lifted this morning, according to the KXTV 6 p.m. news. The report cautioned that a fire watch is currently in place for most of Northern California.

El Dorado County residents are fortunate this time. Quick action has knocked the fire down. KXTV's website story said:
The fire was reported just before 2 p.m. Tuesday at 5100 Mule Skinner Road near Rock Creek. It has burned between 60 and 75 acres and is 40 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. Fire crews say they've stopped the fire's forward progress.

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