500-acre Fork Fire Threatens Infrastructure in Upper American River Watershed

Placerville, CA…Firefighters from the Eldorado National Forest and cooperating agencies responded to the fast-moving Fork Fire in the Gerle Creek area of the Pacific Ranger District today. The fire grew quickly to 500 acres driven by east winds gusting up to 50 mph and is 0% contained.

Based on current and predicted fire behavior with winds expected to continue throughout the night, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office (EDSO) issued a mandatory evacuation order for 600 residents in Stumpy Meadows, Quintette and Volcanoville. A temporary evacuation center has been set up at the Cool Community Church at 863 Cave Valley Rd. in Cool. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has deputies in the area who will provide security in the evacuated areas.

Placer County Sheriff’s Department also evacuated Hell Hole reservoir & campground, French Meadows reservoir & campground and Oxbow reservoir & campground as a precautionary measure. Fortunately, the campgrounds were mostly empty after emergency closures were implemented yesterday in response to critical fire weather.

“We really want to express our thanks to the visitors who left yesterday when we asked them to,” said Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais. “The Crystal Basin is a very popular recreation area and there were a lot of people here for Labor Day weekend. Some may have cut their vacation short, but they are safe and that’s the most important thing.”

Regarding the mandatory evacuation order, EDSO Sargent Moke Auwae said, “I would urge our citizens to comply with the evacuation order for their safety and the safety of the first responders in the area. The steep terrain, weather conditions, and limited visibility are reasons to exercise abundant caution.”

The Fork Fire is burning 15 miles NE of Pollock Pines, moving west toward the King Fire burn scar in the Rubicon drainage on the Georgetown Ranger District. Currently there are 13 engines and 4 water tenders fighting the fire with additional resources on order. Air resources were also deployed but were hampered by turbulence and smoke. A Type 2 incident management team, Southwest Team 4, is enroute and will arrive Thursday.

The fire threatens recreation residences, private structures, and private land inholdings. Other values at risk include private industrial timberlands, forest service recreational and administrative facilities, recreational trail systems, hydroelectric power facilities, and transmission and distribution lines. Sensitive natural and cultural resource resources are also threatened.

Updates on the Fork Fire will be posted on Inciweb at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7165/

For additional Fork Fire Information, call 530-303-2455.

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