Boca fire quickly contained |

Boca fire quickly contained

Renee Shadforth
Scott HessA Forest Service helicopter dumps water Tuesday on a fire near Boca Reservoir.

A fire seared 5 acres of sage and timber less than a half-mile northeast of Boca Reservoir on Monday afternoon.

At 1:30 p.m. on Monday a fisherman called in the fire. Approximately 125 firefighters and an air tanker contained the northeast movement of the blaze by 3 p.m.

With wind gusts of more than 30 mph blasting up the hillside, firefighters were fortunate to have contained the blaze as quickly as they did, said forest service representatives.

“With this kind of wind, getting this kind of fire under control so quickly – phew – we’re lucky, we’re really lucky today,” said Diane Minutilli, an information officer with the forest service, on the scene of the fire.

Water from the reservoir, only a few hundred yards away, helped crews calm the fire with the helicopter’s bucket drop.

“[A nearby water source] helps a lot because it’s a really short turnaround time for the helicopter. Usually it’s not so easy,” Minutilli said.

Although Minutilli said there was a lot of cloud cover at the time of ignition, the fire did not appear to be caused by lightning, and was “suspicious and under investigation,” said Cliff Snider, emergency command center manager for Tahoe National Forest.

During the initial attack on the fire, authorities evacuated Boca Springs Campground and half of Boca Rest Campground, and closed Stampede Dam Road.

Engines from all over North Tahoe and the foothills responded to the blaze. The forest service, Truckee Fire District, Donner Summit Fire Department, Northstar Fire Department, California Department of Forestry, North Tahoe Fire Department and Nevada County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene of the fire.

The fire occurred in a rural area, within 30 feet of an access road. The fire did not threaten any homes.

Because of the heightened fire threat, the California Department of Forestry put out a “Red Flag Warning” Tuesday for the eastern parts of Nevada, Yuba and Placer counties. Tina Rose, CDF information officer, cautioned recreationalists to be careful, considering the high wind and dry conditions.

“Any outdoor (motorized) equipment use is very dangerous,” she said. Visitors are should limit “smoking and pulling motorized vehicles on dry vegetation and grass.”

Boca reservoir is located approximately 10 miles northwest of Truckee, off the Hirschdale exit of Interstate 80.

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