Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tahoe Fire, Cause?

It appears an illegal campfire caused the destructive fire in Tahoe, which is almost under control, at 80%.

Tahoe probe blames campfire
U.S. Forest Service says Angora blaze was 80% contained Friday night.
By Bobby Caina Calvan, Todd Milbourn and Deb Kollars - Bee Staff Writers
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, June 30, 2007

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- In the end, a commonplace comfort -- a campfire in the wilderness -- most likely spawned the large and destructive Angora fire that swept the South Lake Tahoe area, fire investigators said late Friday.

Donna Deaton, a U.S. Fire Service investigator, said authorities have no suspects and asked for the public's help in finding who might have started the illegal campfire that triggered the disaster.

The location of the fire's origin was pinpointed to a picturesque spot in the woods with a popular swimming hole called Seneca Pond and a rock outcropping. The popular gathering place for local residents is about 150 yards from the nearest dirt road.

The fire, which ignited with a fury early Sunday evening, swept through a collection of forested neighborhoods, destroying 254 homes, damaging another 13 and disrupting the lives of 3,500 people who were evacuated. The fire burned 3,100 acres in a 4.7-square- mile area.

The fire was 80 percent contained as of Friday evening, said Rich Hawkins, the U.S. Forest Service incident commander.

"I've had a smile on my face all day long," Hawkins said. "The worst is over."