GEORGETOWN, Calif. - Firefighters battling a 9,500-acre fire west of Lake Tahoe doubled containment of the blaze Thursday, even as small fires broke out of containment lines.
The Star Fire was burning along the Middle Fork of the American River in the Eldorado and Tahoe national forests about 25 miles west of Lake Tahoe.
Firefighters dug into steep, rocky terrain dense with smoke to contain 20 percent of the blaze. Haze drifted miles from the fire.
''We're still trying to control the spot fires. We're having a difficult time holding down the line,'' said Dwain Schrader, fire information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
''Firefighters are making some progress, but not good progress,'' Schrader said, adding, ''The terrain is so steep. It's almost like looking at a bluff.''
Two firefighters suffered moderate burns Wednesday. One fell into a hole left by a burned tree stump and airlifted to Davis Burn Center, where he was treated and released, Schrader said. The other firefighter was burned by a falling tree limb.
The fire threatened a dam keeper's house at French Meadow Reservoir, as well as six structures at the Red Star Mine.
Officials did not know when the fire, which broke out Saturday, would be contained. The cause of the blaze was unknown.
Firefighters estimated battling the fire had cost about $4,500,000 million as of Thursday.