Crews Take Advantage of Weather, Increase Containment; 3 Looting Suspects Arrested – CBS San Francisco

Crews and firefighters converged Friday on a San Francisco apartment complex where Fire Department Fire Inspector Mark Johnson and San Francisco Fire Department Fire Inspector Manuel Torres were trapped overnight by a fast moving fire that was fueled by strong winds and high temperatures.   The two men were trapped in the apartment as the fire roared through the complex at the corner of 20th and Hyde streets, and as flames and smoke filled the building.   Firefighters rescued the men, who were both injured, and quickly knocked the blaze down.   Two suspects were later arrested on looter-related charges.

A slow moving storm system has moved into the area, bringing with it thunderstorms, strong winds, and heavy rain. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the Bay Area. Hikers, especially those in higher elevation areas, are urged to stay close to their homes, and not attempt to hike during the storm. Crews are on standby to assist in the task of restoring power to the public.

Three looting suspects have been arrested, and an evacuation order has been lifted, as the San Francisco Fire Department continues to battle a blaze that has been burning on a hillside for three days.

(CBS SF) CHRISTMAS VALLEY — On Thursday, firefighters defending South Lake Tahoe were able to take advantage of good weather conditions to make progress against the Caldor Fire, while police apprehended their third looting suspect.

The Caldor Fire has expanded to 210,893 acres and was 27 percent controlled as of Thursday evening’s Cal Fire report at 7 p.m.

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The Caldor Fire was just a few miles from South Lake Tahoe, which had been evacuated of 22,000 people only days before, as well as casinos and businesses on the Nevada side of the state border.

Early Thursday, the wind-whipped attack along the fire lines subsided, halting the advancing wall of flames as it burnt its way toward the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort and the densely packed Tahoe basin communities.

While the winds had died down, humidity levels remained low and the plants remained parched. The danger, according to fire authorities, is still quite high.

Cal Fire spokesperson Keith Wade stated, “Tahoe is still at danger, so folks will continue to be evacuated.” “Alpine County, Douglas County, and Amador County are all still at danger at the south end of this fire.”

However, the fire workers gained hope when the winds that had been gusting to 35-40 mph for the previous two days died down overnight and were not expected to return until the weekend, despite the fact that greater temperatures were expected.

According to fire authorities, Friday’s forecast called for lower winds but very dry daytime weather, with a warmer trend over the weekend as high pressure develops over the West.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, South Lake Tahoe police reported the arrest of a third looting suspect in the Caldor Fire area during the previous two days.

Officers saw a strange vehicle tied up to a boat on a home in the Bonanza Avenue neighborhood on Thursday afternoon that seemed out of place. Colby Fenner, a local resident and parolee, was found in possession of burglary equipment and replica weapons.

Fenner got combative with police and was detained right away. He was charged with tampering with fake weapons, burglary tools possession, failure to leave an evacuation zone, and parole violation.

On Wednesday, authorities apprehended two suspected looters. Deputies from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office helping with patrols of the Caldor Fire area saw a guy at a house between Spruce Avenue and Heather Lake Avenue, according to the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.


Looters from Lake Tahoe have been apprehended (South Lake Tahoe Police Dept.)

The 28-year-old South Lake Tahoe resident allegedly got into a vehicle and attempted to flee after spotting the officers. Deputies stopped the vehicle and discovered he was looting the area.

Other accusations against the suspect include failing to leave an evacuation zone, possessing drug paraphernalia, fraudulent registration, and modifying a replica weapon to seem like a genuine one.

Deputies also discovered a second guy in the rear of a Herbert Avenue house, according to South Lake Tahoe police. Looting, burglary, possession of burglary tools, and failure to leave an evacuation zone were all accusations against him.


“We’re going to see the weather shift over the next couple of days,” said Steven Volmer, the fire behavior analyst assigned to the wildfire. “We’re going to see the fire behavior slacken, and we’ll be able to go in there and do some excellent work.”

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Crews were able to conduct controlled shooting operations along the Highway 89 corridor in Christmas Valley to remove underbrush and reinforce the fire barrier. On Wednesday, firefighters spent the day putting out little flames and laying dozer lines.

As he stood in Christmas Valley, Cal Fire PIO Dave Lauchner remarked, “Today is a wonderful day.” “The fire’s main body has passed through this area.”

President Joe Biden also declared a federal disaster on Wednesday, ordering government aid to augment state and local resources in the battle against the fires and to provide relief to the region.

Cal Fire West Zone Operations Chief Tim Ernst informed crew leaders at his Thursday morning briefing that considerable progress had been achieved overnight in keeping the flames away from the Kirkwood Ski Resort on the fire’s southeast flank.

“Last night, our No. 1 priority (for the west zone) was the region surrounding Kirkwood,” Ernst said. “We were able to utilize night-dropping helicopters in there, and they did a lot of excellent job, particularly where the fire went over (Highway) 88, and hopefully that will hold for us.”

Furthermore, Ernst said that firefighters were working on the fire at Wrights Lake, off Highway 50, on the blaze’s northern border, where personnel were actively involved in building protection.

On Thursday, the battle was divided into two command groups. The Ernst team will be in charge of the resources west of Echo Summit, but not including it. Craig Daugherty of the US Forest Service will be in charge of the eastern zone surrounding the Tahoe basin.

Dozer lines and workers, according to Daugherty, are preventing the fire from spreading into the densely populated areas along Pioneer Trail. A blaze was moving south of the route, near the Nevada state border, with an active finger of the flames.

“Last night, the fire remained active at the front of the blaze,” he added. “There were a few of spot flames set up in front of that. “The southeast flank was busy for the most of the night.”

Volmer warned the workers to be wary about spot fires.

“With today’s dry conditions, we’re going to start seeing those spot fires flare up that were blown out over the previous two days with the wind event,” he warned the firefighters. “So, if you’re working in the regions where the wind event happened, anticipate those spot fires to appear today… We anticipate to see fire activity early in the morning and throughout the shift since the inversion (smoke cover) above the fire is extremely thin.”

The Caldor Fire burned over 328 square miles and was just 25% controlled as of early Thursday. More than 4,000 firefighters from around the nation are fighting the wildfire.

The strangely silent neighborhoods of South Lake Tahoe and Stateline were shrouded in a hazy cloud. As Labor Day weekend neared, hotels, lakefront cottages, and the four main casino resorts would normally be a swarm of activity. The 22,000 inhabitants of Truckee and Nevada were forced to evacuate days ago and are now crammed into emergency shelters in Truckee and Nevada.

Timothy Pritchard was one among those forced to leave and is currently living in a Reno shelter.

If he was leaving his house, he remarked, “It really struck me.” “It was a harsh awakening,” says the narrator.

Pritchard was anticipating what he would discover when he returned to his 13-year-old house.

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He predicted that it would smell like smoke. “It will burn to ashes, and all you have to do now is clean up and take care of it.”

Crews and residents of the Bay Area are taking advantage of the rainy weather and increased the number of containment efforts. The most significant of these is the increasing containment of the fire at the Potrero Power Plant in the Bayview/Potrero neighborhood of San Francisco. The fire at the plant, which is located in San Francisco’s Potrero neighborhood, is the largest of the 11 fires currently burning in the Bay Area. At the same time, the number of crews assigned to the fire has grown to more than 300 and containment has reached 57 percent.. Read more about cal fire map and let us know what you think.

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