Firefighters attack Blue Canyon-area blaze |

Firefighters attack Blue Canyon-area blaze

BLUE CANYON ” At least 35 firefighters are battling a slow-moving blaze in the Blue Canyon area of the Tahoe National Forest, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said Thursday.

The fire started at about 7 a.m. Thursday in an area about four miles southeast of the Blue Canyon airport on the North Fork of the American River. The area is east of Interstate 80 and south of Helister Point on the south side of the North Fork, forest spokeswoman Carol Kennedy said.

It is being called the Forks Fire.

“We have some heavy fuels in there. We have some upslope winds, so even though it’s a slow rate of spread, we do have some potential,” Kennedy said.

At 12 p.m., the fire had spread to 25 to 30 acres, Kennedy said. Smoke could be seen in the Colfax area.

A helicopter logging operation in the area was suspended for safety reasons, Kennedy said. It was not clear whether the operation was private.

The area’s rough terrain and lack of roads was forcing handcrews to fly in by helicopter and then hike to the fire. A total of 10 crews had responded so far from the Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Kennedy said.

The CDF is responding with four handcrews, an air-attack airplane, two air tankers and two helicopters equipped with water buckets. In addition, CDF has established four command positions to help monitor progress, CDF Capt. Chris Desena said.

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