Firefighters continued to fight a 634-acre fire in the Eldorado National Forest Tuesday evening.
The fire broke out Monday about 12:40 p.m. when a vehicle blew a tire in a rural section of the highway between White Hall and Kyburz, according to the California Highway Patrol. The fire started on the north side of the highway and quickly spread.
As of Tuesday evening, the fire was at 40 percent containment and had grown from 615 acres to 634 acres, according to fire information officer Laura Hierholzer. Officials could not provide a time for when they expected to have the blaze fully contained. More than 800 crew members, 50 engines, four water tenders and six aircraft were fighting the blaze Tuesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Two small outbuildings had been burned, but no injuries had been reported, according to Cal Fire information officer Teri Mizuhara. Firefighters were experiencing difficulty due to the timberland and steep terrain, she said.
The estimated acreage of the fire didn’t necessarily mean all that land was burning, Mizuhara said Tuesday afternoon. The perimeter was likely extended to include spot fires, though crews may have to back burn areas, she said. Crews worked to build and improve a fire line around the perimeter Tuesday.
Highway 50 was reopened Tuesday about 5 p.m., after being reduced to one-way traffic with an escort since Monday evening due to heavy smoke, which made the area unsafe for motorists, according to Caltrans. Hierholzer advised motorists to use caution since debris from the fire may land on the road, but added that Caltrans had a vehicle to push any debris out of the way.
The USFS warned that communities along the Highway 50 corridor, the Lake Tahoe Basin and the Crystal Basin areas may be impacted by smoke.