Fire could take Tahoe Nevada State Park
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – The Waterfall fire has a 50 percent chance of entering Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, a parks official said Thursday.
Visitors were evacuated Wednesday from the 14,000-acre park, which sits between Lake Tahoe and Carson City.
The evacuation order will remain in effect until there is no threat to the public, said Dave Morrow, administrator of the Nevada Division of State Parks.
Firefighters on Thursday worked to decrease the chances of fire cresting a ridge and entering the park at Hobart Reservoir, located outside of the Lake Tahoe Basin parallel with Sand Harbor and east of the Flume Trail.
The Hobart area contains 4,000 to 6,000 acres of overcrowded timber stands.
“There is heavy fuel loading and very dry conditions,” Morrow said. “There have been extensive efforts … in forest thinning in North Canyon around Spooner. It’s in a lot better shape than the Hobart area.”
“What we’ve been doing so far are things to be proactive,” Morrow said. “We closed the backcountry and closed Spooner, keeping people from accessing the Rim Trail and the Flume Trail or any other part of backcountry.”
At 2 p.m. on Thursday the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit estimated the fire was 2.5 miles east of the basin, but rising winds were causing concern, said Marie Bledsoe, a public affairs officer for the agency.
“One concern includes the power lines to Tahoe. (Firefighters) are watching that,” said Christie Kalkowski, information officer. “That’s one larger concern in addition to Carson City watersheds, timber and wildlife.”
Guards at the Spooner entrance of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, off State Route 28 on the East Shore, turned away visitors Thursday because of the fire danger. One couple drove from Squaw Valley to the park gate hoping to train for the 50-mile Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run, scheduled Saturday.
“What about Saturday? I came from Florida,” Mike Melton, 46, from Jensen Beach, Fla. “I spent $1,500 to run this race.”
Tahoe Mountain Milers Running Club organized the run, which is expected to draw around 300 people. Kevin Bigley, co-director of the event, said he expected to know whether the race would have to be canceled sometime today.
“We don’t know at this point. We’re trying to work with state parks to find an alternative for us,” Bigley said.
For updates, visit Tahoemtnmilers.org or call David Cotter (530) 545-0045.
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Lake Tahoe Basin fire agencies assigned to Waterfall fire
• Lake Valley Fire Protection District: one engine, four firefighters
• Fallen Leaf Fire Department: one engine, three firefighters
• Tahoe Douglas Protection District: one engine, three firefighters
• North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District: one engine, 29 firefighters
• North Tahoe Fire Protection District (Tahoe City): two engines, 11 firefighters