Crews were digging in and burning out fire lines amid fears on Saturday (21 August) that another round of high winds would bring renewed fury to a Northern California wildfire.
‘We have a firefight ahead of us and the wind today is going to make it very challenging,’ said Keith Wade, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
The Caldor Fire in the northern Sierra Nevada has destroyed dozens of homes, and authorities on Friday closed a 74km (46 mile) stretch of Interstate 50, the main route between the state capital of Sacramento and Lake Tahoe on the Nevada state line.
The highway was closed after debris from the blaze fell onto the roadway and because of red flag warnings for 32– 48kph (20–30mph) winds that could gust to 65kph (40mph) throughout Saturday.
The road is a key checkpoint as crews struggle against the fire, which erupted earlier this week and grew to 10 times its size in a few days, fuelled by winds.
‘We’re going to invest everything we can into holding the fire south of the road,’ said Eric Schwab, an operations section chief with Cal Fire.
Firefighters made progress on the fire’s western side and burned vegetation to starve it of fuel and prevent the flames from heading into the evacuated community of Pollock Pines. On the northeast side, crews were protecting cabins in the dense forest area, fire officials said.
The Caldor Fire had devoured about 310km2(130 sq. miles) as of Saturday and more than 1,500 firefighters were battling it amid heavy timber and rugged terrain.
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