American fire balloons to 20,232 acres, 66 percent contained |

American fire balloons to 20,232 acres, 66 percent contained

TRUCKEE, Calif. — State and federal emergency crews continue to battle a growing wildfire emitting heavy smoke in the Tahoe National Forest.

The American fire is burning in a heavily forested area of very steep terrain on Deadwood Ridge, about 10 miles northeast of Foresthill, Calif., roughly a half hour west of Lake Tahoe.

The U.S. Forest Service estimated its size at 20,232 acres as of Friday morning. It is now 66 percent contained. Officials estimate it will be 100 percent contained by noon on Sept. 1.

Roughly 1,812 personnel from Calfire and USFS and other agencies are fighting the fire, the start of which is under investigation.

"The fire is established in Antoine, Manilla and Scewrauger canyons and below the Barny Cavanah Ridge," officials said in a statement Friday. "Consumption of heavy fuels will continue to contribute to smoke in surrounding areas."

This week, the fire's information officer, Mike Johnson, said the blaze is believed to be human-caused, according to media reports, although he does not think it's arson.

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The fire ignited at about 4:30 p.m. Aug. 10 and has destroyed four structures according to USFS.

At Tahoe/Truckee, smoke is expected to be thicker in the evenings, and should linger in the region until the fire is extinguished.

Heavy smoke from the 54,000-acre Rim fire near Sonora, Calif., filtered into the basin Wednesday. The air has been very thick with smoke Thursday and Friday, prompting agencies to issue air quality warnings.

Here are recommended ways to reduce smoke exposure, according to Placer County:

• Limit outdoor exertion and physical activity.

• If you have air conditioning, run the air conditioner on the "recirculation" setting.

• Leave smoke-impacted areas until conditions improve, if possible.

• Reduce unnecessary driving. If traveling through smoke-impacted areas, be sure that your vehicle's ventilation system is on re-circulate.

• Avoid the use of non-HEPA paper face mask filters, which are not capable of filtering out extra fine particulates.

On the web

Follow the fire’s progress here.