KYBURZ (CBS13) — The Caldor Fire burning along Highway 50 between the town of Kyburz and the town of strawberry. Evacuations have been ordered in several areas as crews work to get a handle on the blaze that is burning out of control.
Cal Fire says trying to get a handle on the fire is next to impossible.READ MORE: Home And Sheds Catch Fire In Del Paso Heights
“A little discouraging when we get fire behavior like this that we can’t control,” said Josh Vickers, with Cal Fire.
Vickers said one of the reasons for the struggles is strong winds.
“What you’re feeling right here is 20-25 miles per hour and the fuels are so dry, it’s getting up into the timber. Fire got on both sides of Highway 50,” he said.
20-25mph winds causing the #CaldorFire to move very quickly. It’s jumping highway 50 at several different locations. We asked @CAL_FIRE about the proximity to #TahoeBasin – they tell us it’s on their radar and there are mitigation efforts in place. @CBSSacramento pic.twitter.com/S4Xo3Lxrel
— Laura Haefeli (@LauraHaefeli) August 27, 2021
Vickers explained that embers flying across the roadway helped to spark a fire on the other side of the highway.READ MORE: Bicyclist Hit By Vehicle In Downtown Sacramento
“So we had fire primarily on the north side of Highway 50 and when the winds picked up, we had to shut highway 50 down,” he said.
Rough terrain was also an issue. Getting bulldozers into the area is next to impossible, leaving a lot of the work to hand crews.
Vickers said after the Angora Fire in 2007, vegetation was removed along Highway 50 between Kyburz and Strawberry to prevent major wildfires.
“It did help, but the fire behavior and the fuels are so dry right now, it still has plenty of fuels to burn,” he said.
The popular summer roadway in Northern California is typically full of tourists heading to Tahoe, but it’s now empty along a major stretch. Only fire crews and first responders are allowed there, working to protect what they can.MORE NEWS: Crews Contain Fire Near Sheridan, Evacuations Lifted
Cal Fire tells us they were able to cut the fire off before reaching Kyburz. As of Thursday evening, Strawberry was the focus in terms of structure protection and defense.