Desolation fire contained |

Desolation fire contained

Susan Wood

A wildfire burning west of Meeks Bay at the tip of Desolation Wilderness was contained Monday night, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit reported Tuesday.

The U.S. Forest Service worked on the 40-acre blaze with more than 60 firefighters, including a California hot-shot team from the Stanislaus station.

A lightning strike that occurred last month caused the blaze, and windy conditions over the holiday weekend fanned the fire, Forest Service Fire Management Officer Mark Johnson said.

Fire crews battled strong winds and high temperatures to control the fire, which somewhat surprised fire officials with its latest flare-up.

“All it took was that significant wind,” Johnson said of the 20 mph gusts Sunday.

“Fortunately, it’s not a frequently used area,” he added.

The fire was situated along rugged terrain south of Sugar Pine Point State Park west of Meeks Creek.

A crew will stay out on site to mop up and rehabilitate the area.

The sheer timing of the fire so early in the season has Johnson and other fire officials concerned.

“It’s not a good sign,” he said, noting the fire is ahead of schedule by two months.

Fire officials across the state are bracing for a particularly bad season, with drier-than-normal conditions and an abundance of fuel for fires.

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