Two Fires in National Forest Close Trans-Sierra Highways in California

KYBURZ, Calif. (AP) -- Two wildfires that burned more 17,000 acres in the Eldorado National Forest prevented motorists from crossing two major trans-Sierra highways and kept residents from their homes in tiny Northern California mountain communities.

The Fred fire had burned 5,000 acres of timber and brush in the northern part of the forest between Ice House Reservoir and Kyburz, destroying a couple outbuildings and shutting down U.S. Highway 50, a main link between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, fire spokeswoman Shirley Butticci said Thursday.

Two firefighter suffered minor injuries trying to control the blaze that was burning through a reforested area where the Cleveland Fire burned more than 22,000 acres in 1992.

By Thursday evening, the fire was only 10 percent contained and residents of Kyburz and Silver Fork, two communities of about 150 summer cabins on the South Fork of the American River, remained evacuated.

In the southern part of the forest, firefighters were trying to gain control of a 12,000-acre blaze that blew out of control Wednesday after being contained at 500 acres. A section of Highway 88 remained closed Thursday night and the fire was 35 percent contained, said forest service spokeswoman Tina Garcia.

Meanwhile, cooler temperatures helped hand crews and air tankers come closer to encircling the state's largest wildfire in remote terrain northeast of San Francisco.

More than 2,000 firefighters battled the fire, which had covered 39,138 acres in Napa and Yolo counties near Lake Berryessa by Thursday evening, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention said.

The blaze was 71 percent contained, prompting CDF to lift a voluntary evacuation order for Lake Berryessa Estates, a community of 75 near the lake's northwest shore.

Fire officials expected to contain the blaze by Saturday evening.

The Rumsey fire, which investigators think was set intentionally, began Sunday evening near the Yolo County farming community of Rumsey before spreading to nearby hills.

The Power fire burning in southern Eldorado National Forest, named because of a nearby hydroelectric powerhouse, was not expected to be contained until Oct. 23 because of a heavy build up of dead trees and brush.

That fire is located 17 miles east of Pioneer, between Bear River Reservoir and Salt Springs Reservoir.

Roads leading to Bear River Reservoir remained closed and summer cabins, a rustic resort and a Boy Scout camp remained evacuated.

Causes weren't immediately established for either of the Eldorado National Forest fires, but a report from a fire manager indicated power lines had come down in the area of the Fred fire.