Fire burns on Emerald Bay |

Fire burns on Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay was active with more than tourists Wednesday.

A small, hot fire broke out at 1:30 p.m. between two buildings on the northeast corner of the popular tourist destination off Highway 89. But it was quickly contained by three fire agencies bringing five engines just north of the Emerald Bay Vikingsholm trailhead.

A helicopter unit was called back when it became apparent the U.S. Forest Service, Meeks Bays Fire and North Tahoe Fire had the quarter-acre blaze under control within minutes. It was fully contained by 3:30 p.m., and a crew stayed to mop up and water the area down, the Lake Tahoe Management Unit spokeswoman Linda Massey said.

The cause of the blaze is unknown.

Firefighters expressed concern over the heat of the fire, which was fueled by manzanita brush. The spot fire’s proximity to two structures located about 20 feet apart had firefighters jumping.

“That was our primary concern,” Meeks Bay firefighter Chuck Malone said. “If it had gone under a deck, it could have been pretty bad.”

Fire units describe an atmosphere filled with apprehension, with blazes consuming scattered areas of northern Nevada and California and a potentially bad fire season still in the air. This summer is among one of the driest in Lake Tahoe and Reno’s driest ever.

“The potential is there any time to get wind that could be disastrous,” Malone said.

He urged the public to use common sense during this volatile time. This means not throwing cigarette butts out of vehicle windows and extinguishing all camp fires – firefighting units’ biggest problem, he said.

The California Department of Fire Protection warns homeowners before every potentially bad wildland fire season that blazes are sometimes sparked by power tools such as weed whackers and even lawnmowers. They can light a fire if the tool is laid in the brush.

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