American fire 100% contained; Sept. 20 eyed for Rim fire
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Twenty days after it sparked, the American fire that first introduced thick smoke into the region is now 100 percent contained.
The fire was up to 27,440 acres as of 7:30 a.m. Friday, and it continues to smolder in the Tahoe National Forest roughly a half hour west of Lake Tahoe, about 10 miles northwest of Foresthill, Calif.
“Although full containment of the fire has been reached, area residents and visitors should expect to see smoke from smoldering stumps and vegetation on the forest floor for some time,” officials with the U.S. Forest Service said. “Firefighters working in the interior of the fire are paying close attention to hazards including burned trees above and burning tree stump holes and root systems on the ground.”
The fire ignited Aug. 10 and had destroyed five structures, according to USFS. It is believed to be human-caused.
As of Friday morning, 815 personnel were still working on the fire, including 18 hand crews, 39 engines, three dozers, 23 water tenders and five helicopters.
Certain roads and access trails around the area are still closed. For updates on these closures, click here.
Light smoke from the fire is expected to linger in the Truckee area into next week.
The bigger concern with smoke lies with the massive Rim fire, however, which continues to scorch land near Yosemite National Park.
The fire grew to more than 201,000 acres Friday morning, when it was only 32 percent contained. Officials estimate it will be 100 percent contained on Sept. 20.
Roughly 5,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, which started Aug. 17 and quickly became the sixth-largest California wildfire on record. Its progression slowed earlier this week but it is expected to burn for months.
Eleven homes, three commercial buildings and 97 outbuildings had been destroyed by the fire as of Thursday. Three firefighters were injured, and the cost of fighting the fire is up to $39.2 million.
While air quality showed some improvement Thursday at Lake Tahoe, Truckee and the surrounding Washoe and Carson valleys, smoke from the Rim fire is expected linger into Labor Day weekend, and depending on weather and wind patterns, perhaps deep into September.
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