Firefighters sent to help fight Rim Fire |

Firefighters sent to help fight Rim Fire

Eric Heinz

Some of the local firefighters deployed to the Rim Fire 60 miles directly south of South Lake Tahoe have returned to their stations, but it is possible they may go back.

The Rim Fire, which started Aug. 17, was reported at 246,350 acres and 80 percent contained Friday by Inciweb, a federal incident reporting website. On Aug. 31, Inciweb reported more than 4,800 firefighters were involved with fire suppression efforts, but Friday it reported that 3,634 firefighters were on scene. From the local departments, 24 firefighters have already seen the Rim Fire, but more will likely be sent to it.

No firefighters from local departments have reported any injuries.

Many of the departments and protection districts said their firefighters were on scene for about 14 days, and some still remain in the Rim Fire area.

“The 20-man attack team came back (from a northern California wildfire), but they are being sent out again to the Rim Fire,” Lake Valley Fire Protection District public information officer Leona Allen said.

Allen said the district initially sent five firefighters and two engines to the fire for two weeks, and the district’s two-man chipping crew will be reallocated from the American Fire to the Rim Fire.

As of now, there are some resource orders for the fire, but officials have not yet determined whether more firefighters will be sent south, Allen said.

Fallen Leaf Lake Fire Department no longer has any firefighters on the Rim Fire, but the department sent out four of its 24 firefighters and two engines initially, according to firefighter Josh Kimball.

The brush fire unit was there for 14 days and the Office of Emergency Service engine had been here for 11 days, Kimball said.

“I have not heard if anyone is going back out,” he said.

Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District Marshall Eric Guevin said of the 62 full-time firefighters in the district, an engine company of four firefighters including a division leader are currently involved with the Rim Fire.

Guevin said the team has been at the Rim Fire since Aug. 17.

“They may be released soon, but the division leader may stay longer,” Guevin said.

The Zephyr Crew, a division of the district, has 20 firefighters involved in other fires such as the American to the southwest and the Red Rock to the south near Nevada, with six to eight firefighters staying at home base.

South Lake Tahoe Fire Department officials said five firefighters went on a strike team with one brush or wild land fire engine. All of the firefighters have returned.

Public information officer for North Tahoe Fire Protection District Dave Zaski said four firefighters and one strike team leader helped fight the Rim Fire effort for 14 days since Aug. 17, providing one type-three size engine.

Fire departments are monetarily reimbursed for the resources they send to out-of-district fires and the time spent on fire suppression, but it will be weeks if not months before those figures are determined.

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