Flash flood fears clear Kyburz again

KYBURZ - Residents here and at Wrights Lake were ordered to evacuate Sunday for a second time in four days, not because of fire but of potential flooding.

At 9 a.m. Sunday morning, the U.S. Forest Service and the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents within the fire perimeter from Wrights Lake Road to Alder Creek on both sides of Highway 50.

The Fred fire is burning north of Kyburz and Highway 50 between Wrights Lake and Ice House roads.

An advisory has also been posted for residents outside the fire zone. About 35 families took shelter Sunday at the Pollock Pines Community Center.

The burned ground has become "equivalent to pavement," making the potential for flash flooding extremely high, Kevin House, El Dorado County Sheriff spokesman, said in a press conference Sunday.

"Once it does start to happen, there won't be a lot of time to react to it," he said.

Highway 50 remains closed in both directions, with 95 percent of the Fred fire already contained. However, the fear is a winter-storm moving into the region, which could dump up to 3 inches of rain by Tuesday.

Vegetation been burned in the 7,700-acre fire has caused the ground to become unstable, which, if heavy rains persist, could result in mudslides, especially in drainage areas, said USFS spokeswoman Shirley Butticci.

"We don't want people out there, as there are several major drainages that lead into the communities in the fire area that are filled with debris," she said.

In one area near Silver Fork, firefighters said about a foot of ash was visible.

"Limbs, leaves and needles are all gone," said Mike Pott, spokesman for the Eldorado National Forest.

On the west edge of the fire area, rain and ash combined into a soupy mix and was moving downhill, he added.

Kyburz residents and Silver Fork residents south of Highway 50 were allowed past the road blocks Friday with special passes. But that all changed Sunday.

Meanwhile the Power fire in the Eldorado National Forest near Pioneer continued to burn Sunday, despite the rain. Firefighters reported progress on the 16,800-acre fire. However, crews were unable to work earlier in the day because of unsafe conditions and limited visibility. USFS officials are concerned destabilized soil will cause flooding, mudslides and problems with water supplies.

The Power fire is 50 percent contained.

- Placerville Mountain Democrat reporter Jessi Martin, Tahoe Daily Tribune staff writer Susan Wood and Tribune city editor Jeff Munson contributed to this story.


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