TRUCKEE, Calif. — State and federal emergency crews are beefing up efforts to battle a growing wildfire west of Truckee in the Tahoe National Forest.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the fire is burning in a heavily forested area of very steep terrain on Deadwood Ridge, about 17 miles northeast of Foresthill, Calif.
USFS estimated its size at 12,115 acres as of 8 p.m. Saturday.
Officials attribute the inferno’s growth to hot and dry weather, allowing the blaze to spread along the Deadwood Ridge on the north and south ends. The majority of the fire area is within the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River.
“The fire is burning in steep terrain in heavy timber, in an area that has not burned in several decades, which is contributing to the heavy smoke,” USFS officials said.
Roughly 1,400 personnel from Calfire and USFS and other agencies are fighting the fire, including 41 hand crews, 47 engines, 36 water tenders, 19 dozers, eight helicopters and air tankers as available. Smoke jumpers also were called to the scene earlier this week.
The fire has destroyed three outbuildings as of Saturday morning, according to USFS. No populated areas, including the Foresthill community, are threatened.
Forest Supervisor Tom Quinn has signed an emergency closure order for portions of National Forest System lands within and adjacent to the fire, including access roads and trails surrounding it.
“The temporary closure is designed to ensure public safety during current wildfire suppression efforts and ensuing rehabilitation activities,” according to a press release.
Smoke from the fire has been noticeable in Washoe Valley and Eagle Valley in the evenings.
Smoke should linger in the region into next week.
“In the evenings smoke tends to move downhill, becoming more concentrated in lower elevation areas, including the foothills and the Lake Tahoe region,” officials with the Placer County Air Pollution Control District said in a statement. “In the afternoon and early evening hours, conditions may improve as smoke rises.”
The fire was at 40 percent containment Saturday night.