Early season fire near Round Hill
A brush fire scorched a hillside near Round Hill Saturday, marking an unusually early start this year for the wildfires in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The half-acre fire burned low brush and pine needles on the southwest side of a 6,717-foot hill called Round Mound, near Elks Point Road and U.S. Highway 50. Crews from the Forest Service, Nevada Division of Forestry and Tahoe-Douglas Fire Department worked for more than five hours to put out the blaze.
“It’s a little early for this type of thing,” said Tahoe-Douglas Division Chief Guy Moss. “But it could be dry enough up there that a cigarette could set it off.”
Forest Service fire personnel agreed.
“This is really unusual considering it snowed about a week ago,” said Jim Hush, a Forest Service dispatcher for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “We normally don’t get fires until after Memorial Day.”
Hush said the conditions for a forest fire were just right in that area.
“The terrain was steep, the slope was south-facing and the wind was blowing about 12 to 15 miles per hour, so despite the fact that it had just snowed, the conditions were perfect.”
The cause of the fire is still unknown and fire officials from the Forest Service are conducting an investigation.
“It’s not caused by lightning so it must have been started by humans,” Hush said.
Forest Service fire engines and Incline Village Fire District engines were called to another forest fire Saturday near Incline Village. Also burning in low brush and pine needles, this fire was less than a quarter-acre in size. Fire officials said it is likely to have been caused by fireworks.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The reopening of U.S. Highway 50 starts 8 a.m. today for residents and property owners in preparation for its full opening 8 a.m. Tuesday.