Dardanelles loop may open by Labor Day weekend | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Dardanelles loop may open by Labor Day weekend

Gregory Crofton, Tribune staff writer

All significant hot spots in the Showers fire have been controlled, with firefighters working this week to get a popular section of trail opened by Labor Day weekend.

Burned in the fire was about a one-mile section of a trail known as the Dardanelles loop, a downhill path between Dardanelles Lake and Christmas Valley that is popular with mountain bikers.

“Work is proceeding well,” said Rex Norman, U.S. Forest Service public affairs officer. “Whether it’s three days or three weeks, we have to (address) all the safety hazards. So far it’s going very, very well.”

A safety hazard, for example, could be a snag — a dead but standing tree, or a rolling log or boulder dislodged because of burned underbrush along the steep landscape that runs parallel to the Upper Truckee River.

On Monday, four handcrews and two engines worked the burn area, 294 acres southeast of Highway 89 at Luther Pass. The fire, sparked Aug. 19 by a small plane crash, was driven by winds. In less than two days, about 350 firefighters were able to get a line around it.

Three days later, the Forest Service officially closed the burned area to the public so firefighters could begin work to eliminate any dangers.

“A lot of people have asked us, ‘When is that trail going to open?'” Norman said. “The trail is not specifically damaged. The important thing is the hazards around the trail.”

Because the burned area was not that large and didn’t burn the watershed severely, a Burn Area Emergency Rehabilitation team will not be called to help fix the fire-damaged land.

Norman said work is being done by the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and other firefighters from the area.

A BAER team was called in to handle the Gondola fire, a 673-acre blaze that ignited July 3 just east of the gondola at Heavenly Ski Resort. An investigation conducted by the Forest Service determined a carelessly discarded cigarette started the fire.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.