Fires flare up around lake |

Fires flare up around lake

Fire officials say an unusually dry season has caused fires to flare all around the Tahoe Basin and outlying areas.

Tahoe Vista was hit by a small fire that consumed five to six acres, west of the North Tahoe Regional Park, on Thursday, June 14.

It took North Tahoe firefighters a little less than three hours to contain the blaze, by using what Linda Massey, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit spokesperson, called “massive resources.”

In all, 14 fire engines, one water tender, three helicopters, two air tankers, one air attack plane, one lead plane and four hand crews tended to the fire that threatened a North Lake Tahoe subdivision.

It was the threat to structures that led fire teams to utilize all of their resources, said Duane Whitelaw, North Lake Tahoe fire chief.

Whitelaw said the cause of the fire is still under investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, but investigators have ruled out lightning, leading them to believe it is most likely human factors.

There was no question that two fires in South Shore were caused by human factors. Investigators say that two wildland fires, which sparked Saturday and burned about 8 acres, were caused by juveniles shooting off fireworks.

The first fire started at 2:22 p.m. in the area of Angora Creek and threatened several homes before Lake Valley firefighters got the blaze under control.

The children responsible for the smaller fire have been identified but have so far not been cited for their actions, said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Watson.

The second fire was reported at 5:30 p.m. and began a quarter mile north of Benjamin Drive and is being called the Kingsbury Fire.

Firefighters worked until 10 a.m. Sunday to completely extinguish the fire.

Paul Tyler, a U.S. Forest Service fire investigator, thought that quick response time and a team effort at the Kingsbury Fire prevented disaster.

“We have been fortunate in the Basin in all the 20 years I’ve been here,” said Tyler. “We have dodged so many bullets without a home loss. I’m not an alarmist, but if you look at the indicators, and with the high winds with this spring, they act as an evaporation machine. From now on until we get any kind of moisture, we’re in a heap of danger. It’s spooky.”

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