EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — The Caldor Fire is still blazing across El Dorado County as vineyards prepare to harvest hundreds of acres.
Winemaker Brian Wilhelm cannot believe the Caldor Fire is still a threat.READ MORE: Video Released Of Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting Of Tahoe Park Resident Who Shot At Authorities
Tuesday morning, crews backburned along Slug Gulch Road leading to Charles B. Mitchell Vineyards in Somerset. Their goal is to stop the fire from causing further destruction.
“The grapes are ready and we can’t do anything about it. The power has been off and we are just on hold,” Wilhelm said.
The fire is impacting over two dozen vineyards in the area. Wilhelm says getting crews to harvest is an issue.
“We’d be out in the vineyards. We would be crushing, and the winery—all the tanks would be full of wine but not right now,” he said.
At nearby Gold Mountain Vineyard, the last few days have been nerve-wracking as they watched the fire creep closer.READ MORE: Coroner Identifies Passenger Killed In Wrong-Way DUI Crash On Highway 99
They say grapes so far have not been impacted by ash. Smoke is their concern.
“This is slowing down the ripening process on the vine just because of the lack of bright sunlight,” Wilhelm said.
But it could be a couple of years before they know the full effect.
“Make the wine and see what happens and turn it into moonshine if we can’t make a good wine,” Wilhelm said.
No harvest would mean millions in losses per winery.
So far, no vineyards have burned. Many are thankful firefighters held the fire line just outside Bumgarner Vineyard.MORE NEWS: Looting Suspect Accused Of Dozens Of Thefts Arrested In South Lake Tahoe
“People around here have been working really hard to protect their properties,” Wilhelm said. “Neighbors helping neighbors? Yup.”