Fire strikes familiar location |

Fire strikes familiar location

Jim Grant/Tahoe TribuneBob Carroll, a tree specialist for Eldorado National Forest, stands beside a tree planted after the Cleveland fire. The St. Pauli fire, a 330-acre blaze sparked at the end of July, burned a portion of land that was rebounding from the Cleveland fire.

The St. Pauli fire, named after a nearby inn, started July 26 and burned 330 acres of forest along Highway 50 at Ice House Road.

The cause of the fire has been determined to be suspicious but is unknown. It burned portions of land that had been reforested after the Cleveland fire, which happened 10 years earlier.

“It’s kind of a bummer,” said Bob Carroll, tree specialist at Eldorado National Forest, eying the damage. “The only good thing; it was small compared to the last one. “

The St. Pauli fire burned 240 acres of national forest land and 90 acres of private land. It cost more than $300,000 to extinguish.

“It was a very successful put out,” Carroll said. “The vegetation was low and we were able to use tanker drops more effectively.”

There are no immediate plans to revegetate the land because the fire burned a relatively small area, officials said.

The Cleveland fire burned 24,000 acres of public and private land. It cost $18 million to extinguish and shut down the highway, an artery to South Shore, for about a week.

Why is this area such a fire zone? It experiences a lot of activity: trucks, cars, logging, campers and hikers, Carroll said.

To prevent more wildland fires, Eldorado National Forest each year thins about 22,000 of its 600,000 acres, said Frank Mosbacher, forest spokesman.

Eldorado also starts controlled burns on 4,000 acres each year when weather permits. The burning eliminates unwanted brush and small trees in an effort to create a more fire resistant forest.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or at

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