Hot spots of Showers fire doused |

Hot spots of Showers fire doused

Jeff Munson, Tribune city editor

It will be three more days before firefighters considered the Showers fire extinguished.

The 294-acre blaze started Monday after a plane crashed into a mountainside near Luther Pass and killed two people.

After spending Wednesday mapping the burn area on the ground and by air, officials scaled down the amount of acres burned to 294.

“All factors came into play when controlling this fire,” said Forest Service spokeswoman Joanne Roubique of the more than 700 firefighting personnel on the scene. “There was aggressive firefighting, hotshot crews, and helicopters and the weather was somewhat cooperative.”

Strike teams were able to douse the fire effectively without using a lot of retardant. Four helicopters continued to work through Wednesday, dumping Lake Tahoe water on the hot spots, while handcrews were able to begin the mop-up process, saturating the hot soil with water.

Full containment was reached at 6 p.m. Wednesday, after crews worked on spot fires fueled by wind gusts early in the morning.

Originally the fire was thought to be contained late Tuesday, but spot fires prevailed throughout the morning hours Wednesday. Fire crews were brought into the most vulnerable areas, Roubique said, where each spot fire was treated as a new fire.

The main concern for fire crews now is keeping fire away from dead trees that remain standing. Officials say while they are remaining sensitive to wildlife that live in the trees, there is a point where the trees are felled because they’re considered a threat to the firefighters and, in the future, to forest users.

“We’ve had a lot of big snags fall over, which is a concern,” she said.

Stationed at the incident command post at Heavenly Ski Resort, fire personnel will begin leaving Sunday, when officials expect to have the fire under control.

Firefighters for the U.S. Forest Service, the California Department of Forestry, the Nevada Department of Forestry, the BLM, Lake Valley Fire Department and the South Lake Tahoe Fire Department were activated for the Shower fire, Roubique said.

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