NEVADA CITY - Tahoe National Forest officials have issued a warning that, even though the American Fire was contained Aug. 29 and smoke is clearing, the fire area remains hazardous and a closure order is still in effect.
Gwen Ernst-Ulrich, the forest's acting public affairs officer, says the following hazards exist within the 27,440 acres that burned near Foresthill:
Unstable burned trees and tree limbs, that can fall at any time, particularly during wind gusts.
Rolling material, including large rocks, that can fall on roads and trails.
Stump holes that often burn underground and are not easily detected.
Ash pits, often hiding hot material, that walkers can sink into.
Intermittent smoke, ash and dust that are breathing and eye hazards.
Unburned vegetation within the fire area that can ignite without warning, bringing entrapment danger.
The presence of large vehicles such as water tenders and fire engines on narrow dirt roads with limited turnouts.
The fire closure order, which can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/tahoe/alerts-notices/?aid=19769, will remain in effect until the fire is is "out," which means cold to the touch, Ernst-Ulrich said.
"With the heavy fuels and large stumps that hold heat, 'out' is not expected until substantial rain and snow have blanketed the fire area," she said.
And even when a fire is declared out, she said, a recently burned area contains hazards, such as falling trees and limbs, hidden holes in ash pits and rocks on roads and trails.