Ralston Fire probe continues | SierraSun.com

Ralston Fire probe continues

The cause of the now-contained, 8,423-acre Ralston Fire on the western edge of the Tahoe National Forest that covered the Truckee-Tahoe area with smoke early last week is still unknown.

A Region 5 U.S. Forest Service investigation team combed the blaze area for clues Monday, said Ann Westling of the Tahoe National Forest. No other burned structures have been found since last week’s discovery of an old miner’s cabin.

Meanwhile, a three-step rehabilitation of the acreage northeast of Auburn is also underway. In step one, firefighters are trying to shore up fire lines to avoid erosion, Westling said. Next, a team from the Tahoe and El Dorado national forests will assess the site for emergency rehabilitation needs.

“They will be looking at threats to life in terms of the first storms and what needs to be done immediately,” Westling said. In the last step, the team is assessing long-term recovery needs.

The fire, which started Sept. 5 and was contained Sept. 17, cost $13.1 million to suppress. Five people were slightly injured.

The steep terrain of the American River and Rubicon River canyons where the blaze burned made it dangerous and difficult to battle, causing the Forest Service to bring in a special California fire incident team. A special Cobra helicopter with an infrared camera was also called in to find hot spots through the heavy smoke.

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