Firefighters tackle forest fire near Lake Tahoe |

Firefighters tackle forest fire near Lake Tahoe

GEORGETOWN, Calif. (AP) – Firefighters Wednesday got a handle on a small part of a blaze that has burned uncontained for four days.

The 8,000-acre Star Fire was burning along the Middle Fork of the American River in the Eldorado and Tahoe national forests about 25 miles west of Lake Tahoe.

More than 2,178 firefighters and personnel dug into steep, heavily forested terrain and had contained 10 percent of the fire Wednesday morning. They expected cooler weather but heavier winds, ”the worst enemy of firefighters,” said Dwain Schrader, fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire threatened a dam keeper’s house at French Meadow Reservoir, as well as six structures at the Red Star Mine.

The blaze, with flames as high as 100 feet, was about two miles from the state’s northernmost grove of redwood trees, but moving away from the grove, said Mark Whaling, a fire information officer for the Star Fire.

Years of dry summers, including this one that saw less than half the usual rainfall, made it easier for wind-driven embers to spark new fires, Whaling said.

Authorities have evacuated campers at two Forest Service campgrounds – Hellhole and French Meadows. Five roads remained closed.

Eight firefighters suffered minor injuries, including a broken arm. One firefighter who suffered an allergic reaction to a bee sting was airlifted out.

The cause of the fire, which began Saturday, was unknown. Firefighters estimated battling the fire had cost about $1 million as of Wednesday.

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