After two weeks of the King Fire burning through the El Dorado and Tahoe National Forests, fire fighters have it 87% contained. Monday morning should bring about higher containment numbers. It is reported that 80 structures have been lost in this 97,099 acre blaze.
As a result of the containment, the Incident Commanders have released quite a few personnel. From a high of just over 8,000 fire fighters, the figure today, September 28, stands at 4,878.
The release of personnel back to their home units, or on to other fires, comes on the heels of a storm that dumped over an inch of rain in Pollock Pines, and dusted the Sierra peaks with snow. Along with the massive and successful response of the air and ground units, the rain has given everyone involved a much needed breather.
The fire isn’t out as yet. It is reported by the Unified Command that:
“Fire suppression crews continue to mop up smoldering heavy fuels that are well within the fire perimeter while patrolling along the control lines in Zone 1.” In short, the containment lines are holding.
The weather forecast is for warmer and more dry conditions over this next week. Fire officials are confident that the fire, which may continue to produce smoke and visible flames, will stay within the established perimeter.
Residents of Pollock Pines are breathing a sigh of relief. Many in the close vicinity of the fire spent some time late last week unpacking their cars, although with great caution and respect for the fire. The residents of Pollock Pines continue to send an unending stream of thanks to the fire crews through twitter and Facebook.
A particularly stunning video of the fire from the air can be found on the King Fire YubaNet page. Scroll down to September 24, at 9:40 p.m. It shows how close the fire came to the little burg of Pollock Pines, and takes you on an aerial tour of the fire, from the south to the north.
Residents in the Tahoe Basin, and Truckee are literally breathing more easily. As the winds blew the fire to the north and northeast, it also blew the smoke to Tahoe. Hope Valley and the Highway 88 corridor also dealt with the smoke for a few days last week.
Assessing damage and preparing to begin repair operations began almost as soon as the fire started. As the King Fire continues to burn without the velocity it once had, crews are already out in the area beginning the equally daunting task of putting the forest back together. Safety is a prime concern, as the area the fire burned through is a series of steep canyon walls. In the burned over areas there isn’t anything left to hold the soil in place.
Watersheds will be impacted by this. The Fire Suppression Repair Teams have their work cut out for them.