Fork Fire grows to 500 acres, moving west, away from Tahoe Basin
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The fast-growing Fork Fire quickly grew Tuesday and officials have issued an evacuation order for hundreds of residents.
The Fork Fire sparked in the morning and quickly expanded during a Red Flag Warning west of Loon Lake in the Pacific Ranger District of the Eldorado National Forest, several miles west of Tahoma on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, off Wentworth Springs Rd., and the Gerle Creek access.
The fire as of midnight was at 500 acres driven by 50 mph east winds, but that pushed the blaze away from the basin. It is zero percent contained.
The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit for public safety, advised people to avoid Barker Pass and McKinney-Rubicon area roads and trails on the Lake Tahoe Basin side.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for 600 residents in Stumpy Meadows, Quintette and Volcanoville. A temporary evacuation center has been set up at the Cool Community Church at 863 Cave Valley Rd. in Cool. Officials say deputies in the area will provide security in the evacuated areas.
The Placer County Sheriff’s Office also evacuated Hell Hole, French Meadows and Oxbow reservoirs and all the campgrounds as a precautionary measure. Officials said that the campgrounds were mostly empty after emergency closures were implemented Tuesday in response to critical fire weather.
“We really want to express our thanks to the visitors who left yesterday when we asked them to,” said Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais in a press release. “The Crystal Basin is a very popular recreation area and there were a lot of people here for Labor Day weekend. Some may have cut their vacation short, but they are safe and that’s the most important thing.”
Regarding the mandatory evacuation order, EDSO Sgt. Moke Auwae said, “I would urge our citizens to comply with the evacuation order for their safety and the safety of the first responders in the area. The steep terrain, weather conditions and limited visibility are reasons to exercise abundant caution.”
The Fork Fire is burning 15 miles northeast of Pollock Pines, moving west toward the 2014 King Fire burn scar in the Rubicon drainage on the Georgetown Ranger District. There are 13 engines and four water tenders fighting the fire with additional resources on order.
Air resources were also deployed but were hampered by turbulence and smoke. A Type 2 incident management team, Southwest Team 4, is enroute and will arrive Thursday.
Officials said the fire will continue on a westerly path and is threatening recreation residences, private structures and private land inholdings. Other values at risk include private industrial timberlands, forest service recreational and administrative facilities, recreational trail systems, hydroelectric power facilities, and transmission and distribution lines.
Sensitive natural and cultural resource resources are also threatened.
Updates on the Fork Fire will be posted on Inciweb at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7165/
For additional Fork Fire Information, call 530-303-2455.
Update 8:40 p.m.: Officials say the Fork Fire has grown to 500 acres and is zero percent contained.
The blaze is located 15 miles northeast of Pollock Pines in the Crystal Basin/Gerle Creek area.
Officials say the Red Flag Warning issued by the National Weather Service remains in effect through noon Friday.
Update 5:30 p.m.: The Fork Fire has grown to 400-plus acres but the good news for Tahoe residents is that the blaze is moving away from the lake.
The fire is in the Pacific Ranger District and is spreading further west toward the Georgetown Ranger District and the 2014 King Fire burn scar, ElDorado National Forest officials said.
The National Weather Service called for gusty eastern winds Tuesday and that is helping push the blaze further away.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The Fork Fire in the Pacific Ranger District is now 400+ acres and is spreading toward the 2014 King Fire burn scar in the Rubicon drainage on the Georgetown Ranger District.— EldoradoNF (@EldoradoNF) September 8, 2020
The fire cause is under investigation. It began off Wentworth Springs Road, East of Gerle Creek.
Update 3:30 p.m.: The fast-growing Fork Fire has expanded to 400 acres according to the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
Air support is providing the initial attack response.
Update 2:50 p.m.: The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit says that for public safety due to the fast moving Fork Fire, people are advised to avoid Barker pass and McKinney-Rubicon area roads and trails on the Lake Tahoe Basin side.
For public safety due to the fast-moving #ForkFire on the @EldoradoNF, the public is advised to avoid Barker Pass and McKinney-Rubicon area roads and trails on the Tahoe Basin side. More information will be posted when available. pic.twitter.com/G5M5q9yRk1— Lake Tahoe USFS (@LakeTahoeUSFS) September 8, 2020
Numerous resources are responding to, or are on scene of a wildfire in the Eldorado National Forest.
The Fork Fire discovered Tuesday west of Loon Lake in the Eldorado National Forest, several miles west of Tahoma on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, has grown to 100 acres and officials say it has significant growth potential.
The blaze is off Wentworth Springs Rd., and the Gerle Creek access, according to a social media post.
Numerous ground resources as well as fire fighting aircraft are either on scene or responding to the Fork Fire, last reported at 100 Ac. Information on this fire will be released as it becomes available. pic.twitter.com/TFl8qbuSMy— EldoradoNF (@EldoradoNF) September 8, 2020
Eldorado forest officials say evacuations are in place for Loon Lake, Gerle Creek and Rubicon Trail.
As a precautionary measure, Placer County Sheriff’s Office said it is evacuating the areas surrounding Hell Hole and French Meadows. They ask everybody to stay out of the area to allow access for emergency vehicles.
🔥Vegetation fire in El Dorado County. As a precautionary measure, deputies are evacuating the areas surrounding Hell Hole & French Meadows. Stay out of the area to allow access for emergency vehicles. 🚓🚒 Current view from US Forest Service camera: pic.twitter.com/pr8keLBkV3— Placer Sheriff (@PlacerSheriff) September 8, 2020
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for Tuesday due to extreme fire conditions. A Lake Wind Advisory was also issued with winds expected to reach 35 mph, higher on ridges.
This is a developing story.
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