Fire crews worked to remove hazardous trees, rocks and other remnants left behind Saturday after a fire raged in El Dorado County’s Emerald Bay, claiming 210 acres.
“The fire is out,” said Brice Bennett, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “Now it is a matter of making the area safe for the public.”
The Emerald Fire began at 1:30 a.m. Friday and quickly consumed 200 acres, closing a section of Highway 89 from Fallen Leaf Lake to Bayview Trailhead. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office ordered the evacuation of 500 homes in the Tahoe Basin near Fallen Leaf Lake and Cascade Lake Trail.
Bennett said Saturday that fire crews, along with crews from tree companies and the California Department of Transportation, were working to remove the mud, rocks and downed trees that continued to present hazards to Highway 89 and nearby homes.
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Their efforts were complicated by weekend storms that created unstable soil and winds gusts of up to 100 mph, Bennett said. But he also noted that the rain, along with vegetation-management projects that cleared the forest of litter and small brush, had helped control the fire’s intensity.
As of Saturday evening, the fire had consumed 176 acres and was at 90 percent containment, according to Cal Fire. Highway 89 was to remain closed, and the evacuation order in place, until crews could make the area safe, Bennett said.
Across the state line, firefighters continued to fight a much larger blaze that ignited Friday in the Washoe Valley along Highway 395 between Reno and Carson City. By Saturday afternoon, the fire had consumed 3,460 acres with 5 percent containment, according to the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center.
The fire has destroyed 22 residences and 17 outbuildings and 500 structures remained under threat, according to the center.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval declared a state of emergency Friday, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized the use of U.S. fire management assistance to cover as much as 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs.
Firefighters snuffed out a third fire that destroyed at least one structure and temporarily closed the Mount Rose Highway connecting Reno to Lake Tahoe.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.