Kyburz fire nearly contained, Highway 50 open |

Kyburz fire nearly contained, Highway 50 open

Lake Valley Fire Protection District's water tender in 2016.

Firefighting efforts over the weekend have almost fully contained a wildfire burning near Kyburz, west of Lake Tahoe.

The fire was 98-percent contained Monday morning, with crews combating what remains of the fire.

The size of the fire has been reduced to 75 acres due to more accurate mapping from aerial infrared imaging.

At its height late Friday and early Saturday, 667 personnel were committed to combating the wildfire, including Lake Valley Fire Protection District and the U.S. Forest Service.

The recently arrived “Super Scooper” air tanker stationed at Lake Tahoe Airport made more than 20 drops on Thursday and Friday at 1,600 gallons of water per drop.

Crews from the El Dorado County Fire Department, CalFire, the California Conversation Corps and other agencies helped combat the wildfire while California Highway Patrol, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department and Caltrans helped provide traffic control and support.

“Captain Chuck Malone and Engineer Nate Hagenbach proudly assisted the USFS last week with our new Tactical Water Tender at the Kyburz Fire,” said Martin Goldberg, Lake Valley Fire’s fire and fuels division leader, on Monday. “Tender 7 holds 3000 gallon of water and has the capability to not only supply other fire engines with water, but also has the ability to fight wildfires.”

U.S. Highway 50 reopened in full late Saturday night morning after being closed to traffic Thursday evening and most of Friday.

Kristi Schroeder, spokeswoman for Eldorado National Forest said a few fire crews were still wrapping up control of hot spots.

“We’re in good shape but we want to make sure that it’s completely cold because it is the Highway 50 corridor,” Schroeder said Monday. She added it was essential to ensure full suppression because of the time of year and recent drought conditions.

Officials reported the Kyburz fire started just before 2 p.m. on Thursday from what appeared to be an vehicle-related near the American River canyon’s south fork, west of Kyburz and east of Whitehall. The fire quickly set fire to vegetation on both sides of Highway 50 north of the American River.

The U.S. Forest Service’s investigation is ongoing.

Fire crews shut down traffic on Highway 50 between Sly Park Road and Meyers at 2:30 p.m. Mandatory evacuations were set in place between Sand Flat Campground and Whitehall and voluntary evacuations were issued for those living between Kyburz and Strawberry.

At one point, Ice House Reservoir was cleared of boats due to interference with airlifts of water from the reservoir.

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