Firefighters douse wind-whipped fire near Meyers |

Firefighters douse wind-whipped fire near Meyers

William Ferchland

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / A firefighter douses flames on the trunk of a tree at a small wildland fire in Meyers on Friday afternoon.

A fire whipped by fierce winds charred a half-acre of land about 200 yards from Apache Road on Friday, sending smoke and concern through the neighborhood near Meyers.

About 40 firefighters from Lake Valley Fire Protection District and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the area of relative sparse trees and brush shortly after the report of smoke was 11:25 a.m.

The area, which consisted of a large boulder on a rise with a pine-needle floor, also had beer cans, lighters and a small charred fire extinguisher that U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer Bill Johnson carried out.

“It’s obviously a party spot,” Johnson said.

Johnson determined the fire was human-caused.

Afternoon winds were clocked late Friday morning at 24 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 at the South Lake Tahoe Airport, according to the National Weather Service in Reno.

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The elements were there for the fire – oxygen supplied by wind, combustible materials and heat – to gain momentum. Capt. Mike Corey with Lake Valley Fire Protection District believed the area was previously treated by forest-thinning crews, keeping the fire low and slow.

“That was a good example of fuel management in the forest,” Corey said.

Mark McDonald left his work at Heavenly Mountain Resort after someone told him a fire erupted near his home on Apache. While driving McDonald said he hoped he didn’t leave anything on.

Bruce Fullerton was installing sheet rock at a nearby home and didn’t know of the fire until fire trucks starting parking on Apache.

“It’s a good thing they jump on things like that,” Fullerton said.

Fullerton then used the opportunity to include his two cents on forest thinning.

“They should let locals go in and cut down dead and diseased trees out of there,” he said. “This place has been a tinderbox for years.”

Johnson asked anyone with information on who may have caused the fire to contact the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department at (530) 573-3000 or the U.S. Forest Service at (530) 543-2600.