Kingsbury Grade reopened after fire contained |

Kingsbury Grade reopened after fire contained

Commuters from Carson Valley to Lake Tahoe got an early taste of life after Labor Day when a 1.5-acre fire closed Kingsbury Grade for more than four hours.

A hand crew should wrap up work today on the fire that was first reported 1:29 p.m. Wednesday.

The smoke plume was visible from all around the Valley, as firefighters rushed to the scene to prevent the fire from spreading into heavy timber, where it could have threatened lives and property at the top of the Grade.

Kingsbury was closed for fire apparatus at about 2 p.m.

East Fork Fire Marshal Steve Eisele said that the fire was about a half-mile from a home on the Grade burning, in brush and some scattered timber.

"We were very fortunate that we had very little wind," he said. "The humidity was quite low for that area. We were also fortunate that we had available resources between local and federal governments."

Those resources included two helicopters, including a Skycrane, a single-engine air tanker and a heavy air tanker.

"We had it boxed in fairly quickly," Eisele said. "We used the helos to work on the areas that were actively burning."

He said the fire is on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service took over responsibility for the fire on Wednesday night.

The cause is under investigation, Eisele said. There were several reports of lightning strikes in the area during a thunderstorm on Monday. The fire is also located near a power pole that could also have ignited the blaze.

While that thunderstorm dumped rain on South Lake Tahoe just a few miles away, it apparently did little to moisten vegetation further north.