Firefighters await weather to wrap up Caldor

Krysten Kellum
Mountain Democrat
One of the last segments of uncontrolled containment line on the Caldor Fire is north of Lake Margaret.

Rainy, snowy weather could take the last of the firefight out of the Caldor Fire.

Firefighters are already seeing cooler fall weather but that might start to look a little bit more like winter with snow forecast for 8,000-7,000 foot elevations Friday and Saturday.

California Interagency Incident Management Team 13 Meteorologist Derek Williams said at Wednesday evening’s community briefing that it is possible that several inches of snow could accumulate. He added that a stronger, colder weather system is expected to move into the region Monday and Tuesday next week.

Matt Ahearn, Team 13 operations section chief, said containment lines near the Forni Meadows area have been extended but “there is one section that is going to remain until we get weather.” He explained that until then there is nowhere for the fire to go as it is held by a rock barrier — the 9,984-foot Pyramid Peak.

There are just a couple segments of uncontained perimeter left on the Caldor Fire and Ahearn said that on Wednesday he saw the least amount of smoke to date on the 221,775-acre, 93%-contained blaze.

Near Wrights Lake a fire outside the Caldor perimeter called the Smith Fire is no longer posing a threat. “That whole edge is in very good shape,” Ahearn reported.

South of Sierra-at-Tahoe containment lines have also been extended. The containment line in that area that has not yet been fully secured stretches from well south of Sierra-at-Tahoe, along Schneider Camp Road and clear to near Lake Magaret a few miles north of Highway 88. But Ahearn said progress is coming along there and “that line looks excellent.”

West of Lake Margaret the Tallac Hot Shots have been assigned to Cody Meadows where they are securing hot spots with the help of aircraft.

Suppression repair work and hazard tree removal is in progress across the Caldor Fire burn area. Along Mormon Emigrant Trail where Caldor burned with great intensity at the peak of its destruction there is much work to be done to clean up all the burned trees. “This is a major operation that is going to take multiple weeks,” Ahearn said.

Wednesday evening saw the last online community briefing, according to fire officials. Updated information will continue to be posted to Some 1,300 personnel remain assigned to fight the 53-day-old Caldor Fire.

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