This season’s wildfire danger hit home in Placer County this past weekend, with destruction of five homes on the west shore of North Lake Tahoe during a blaze that firefighters continued to mop up on Sunday.
The fire was kept to an estimated 10 to 15 acres by firefighting teams led by the U.S. Forest Service. The fire comes less than two months after a wildfire destroyed 254 homes and spread to more than 3,000 acres in neighboring El Dorado County, about 20 miles north of South Lake Tahoe.
Placer County Supervisor Bruce Kranz, whose district takes in North Lake Tahoe, said that the fire near Sunnyside is an indication of how dry and fire-prone the area is.
“It’s not over – it’s just the beginning of the season,” Kranz said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we’re going to have more of it – and I’m going to keep hounding people until someone does something about it.”
Kranz said he’ll be working in his capacity as Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to try to cut through layers of bureaucracy to bring in more fire-safe practices. The Tahoe Summit this past week indicated that federal representatives like California Sen. Dianne Feinstein are more understanding of the issues facing the Tahoe area, he said.
Reports from the fire indicate that emergency responders worked quickly to get an upper hand on the blaze, which started as a structure fire and spread into the wildland, Kranz said.
“The Angora fire put in everybody’s mind the idea that they had to get on it immediately,” Kranz said.
The fire forced evacuations of some residents and tourists. Anita Yoder, spokeswoman for the Placer County Office of Emergency Services, said the fire was fully surrounded by 11 p.m. Saturday.
State Route 89 had been reopened by Sunday in both directions but people were being urged by emergency officials to stay off the roads because work was still underway.
Residents from the Talmont, Granlibakken, Comstock Acres and Cathedral Forest were allowed to return to their homes. One area – Tahoe Woods – was to remain closed overnight Sunday because of downed power lines and fire crews working in the area.
The Washoe Way house where the fire started was fully engulfed when crews arrived shortly after 1:30 p.m., the Associated Press reported. Flames were fanned by wind gusts of up to 30 mph.