Caples, El Dorado County

In Regional Firesby YubaNet


support

Share this Post

  • Incident Name: Caples, El Dorado County
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: ENF
  • Size (acres): 3434
  • Percent Contained: 62%
  • Estimate of Containment: unknown
  • Personnel: 277
  • Structures Destroyed: 0

Caples, 4 miles northwest of Kirkwood in the area of Caples Creek.

October 20, 2019 at 12:33 PM

Increased humidity reduced fire behavior overnight. Today’s priority is to construct and secure a hand line from the southern containment line on the ridge a 0.5 mile west of Castle Point going north though Convict Meadow to the containment line on the southeast end of the fire. This area is in the non-contained southeast section of the fire which is in a roadless area in the Caples Creek drainage. This area is predominately rocky terrain with islands and stringers of vegetation and timber. Tactical firing operations may be used to strengthen the line if conditions are favorable. A large number of resources are being released from the fire today. On Monday, the Caples Fire will be transferred back to the forest and managed by a smaller Type 4 organization. A Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team is assigned to the fire to determine what actions need to be taken to repair damage or prevent further damage from erosion and precipitation. Suppression repair activities have begun on the contained sides of the fire.

Weather Forecast: Sunny and warmer on Sunday, with lowering humidity. Winds by afternoon will be adverse north/northwest winds for the southern section of the fire and will push smoke to the southeast. Expect a warming and drying trend next week, with a shift to northeast to east winds. These winds are forecast to increase in intensity by mid-week and be accompanied by poor overnight humidity recovery and afternoon levels in the teens. This will drop and become poor by mid-week. This northeast wind event could be similar in strength to the last one.

Smoke: Smoke would be from interior burning and tactical firing operations if they occur today. Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to reduce their exposure by avoiding smoky areas, closing windows, or staying indoors. Smoke levels can be monitored at www.purpleair.com or www.airnow.gov .

October 19, 2019 at 11:39 AM

The fire was quiet last night. Today’s priority is constructing and securing a hand line on the  non-contained southeast section of the fire which is in a roadless area in the Caples Creek drainage. This area is predominately rocky terrain with islands and stringers of vegetation and timber. Crews will build a handline between the rock formations into the area from Castle Point.  Tactical firing operations may be used to strengthen the line if conditions are favorable.

Weather Forecast:  A dry cold front will pass through today, bringing stronger, adverse northwest winds for the southern division. The northern part of the fire area will experience gusty afternoon west northwest winds which will push smoke to the southeast. Cooler afternoon temperatures and partly cloudy skies are expected with the frontal passage. Humidity levels will be at minimum in the morning, rising in the afternoon with the frontal passage.

Smoke: Smoke would be from interior burning and tactical firing operations if they occur today.  Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to reduce their exposure by avoiding smoky areas, closing windows, or staying indoors. Smoke levels can be monitored at www.purpleair.com or www.airnow.gov .

Road Closures: Due to the fire and suppression operations in progress the following roads and trails are unsafe for public use.  The roads and trails in the Caples fire area are still closed by forest order 03-19-11. If you see a road blocked, please comply to keep firefighters and the public safe. ·   Forest Road: 10N40 (Silverfork Road), starting from its intersection with 11N23 (Packsaddle Pass Road), then south to its intersection with 10N50 (Mormon Emigrant Trail). 11N23 (Packsaddle Pass Road), starting from its intersection with 11N40 (Silverfork Road), then north 10.12 miles. 10N13 (Schneider Camp Road), 10N16 (Martin Meadow Road), 10N16A, and 10N16E.  Forest Road 11N19 (Strawberry Jeep Trail) from its intersection with Forest Road 10N13. ·    Forest Trails: 17E15 Cody Meadows, 17E20 Silver Fork, 17E22 from Highway 88 north to end, 17E49 Strawberry Creek, 17E51 Caples Creek, 17E53 Kirkwood Lake Loop, 17E63 Forgotten Flat, 17E71 Old Silver Lake Trail,17E73 Strawberry 4WD Trail, and 17E74 Spur Bee 4WD Trail.

October 17, 2019 at 8:33 AM

As predicted, fire activity became more active as southwest winds increased over the fire area today. Burning in the interior of the fire and a rock outcrop area north of Convict Meadow produced the most smoke which is going in a northeast direction. A helicopter made water drops in the area to slow fire spread. Winds are expected to increase tonight, with gusts as high as 45 mph on ridges. A night patrol will be monitoring fire activity overnight. Light, short-duration rain and snow is expected from about 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday morning. The precipitation should result in reduced fire activity today.

October 14, 2019 at 12:55 AM

Today, firefighters made good progress tying in and securing two indirect containment lines on the south side of the fire with a successful tactical firing operation.  The area is exceptionally steep and rugged without road access, which is not safe for direct line construction.  Today’s burning and the fire’s natural progression in the past three days has been a low intensity underburn, consistent with the objectives of the ecological restoration project.  The night shift will monitor and hold established containment lines.

October 13, 2019 at 12:30 PM

A tactical firing operations to use low intensity burning to remove vegetation between the containment line and fire’s edge is underway.

October 13, 2019 at 9:36 AM

Overall the fire was quiet last night. Some activity was observed in the southwest corner and northeast end and consumption of unburned islands of fuel. No progression in the northeast section where there is very scattered vegetation. The inversion is expected to lift around 1 pm which could potentially increase the fire activity. The fire is at 2,885 acres and 35% contained. Today’s plan is to continue with a full suppression strategy to build indirect line in the southern section which could include tactical firing operations. The intent is to use low intensity burning to remove vegetation between the containment line and the fire’s edge. This is safer for the firefighters due to the steep terrain and is also meeting the original Caples Ecological Restoration Project objectives of reducing fuel loadings, maintaining vegetation conditions that will allow fires to burn with lower intensities, and creating defensible space. Although the Caples fire is now designated a wildfire it is accomplishing our goal of promoting a healthy resilient forest by reintroducing fire to the landscape. The fire has been burning mostly as an understory burn with occasional tree torching. Most of the smoke has been from overgrown brush fields and deep duff layers.

Weather Forecast:  High temperatures of 55-65F and relative humidity of 22-27% over the fire today. Ridge winds 10-15 mph with possible gusts to 20 mph; slope and valley winds SW 4-8 mph with a few gusts 10-12 mph. A weak trough will pass through the region today. The main impact will be some increasing cloud cover. Southwest ridge winds will increase. There may be enough wind and instability aloft associated with this trough to push the smoke eastward. Overall, winds over the fire are expected to remain fairly light with general winds southwest and slope winds at eye level.

Smoke: Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to reduce their exposure by avoiding smoky areas, closing windows, or staying indoors. Smoke settles in the valleys and canyons at night but usually clears later in the morning with the natural diurnal upcanyon winds.

Evacuations:  None

Road Closures: Due to the active fire operations in progress, hiking and hunting in the Silver Fork/ Caples Creek area is not recommended. Roads are blocked at the following intersection:  Packsaddle Pass and Silver Fork Road;  Packsaddle Pass and 11N19; Mormon Emigrant Trail and Silver Fork Road;  Martin Meadows, Margaret and Shealor Lake Trailheads, and Schneider Camp. If you see a road blocked for fire activity please comply to keep firefighters and the public safe.

Background: The prescribed burn project began on September 30 as pile burning under favorable conditions following rain and snowstorms. The prescribed fire was within prescription and achieving the goals of the project of reducing fuels loading and create vegetation conditions that allow fires to burn with lower intensities and create defensible space. Once the red flag warning for the wind event was forecasted fire managers began building fire line and conducting firing operations to secure and strengthen the fire perimeter before the wind arrived. The containment lines held well through the wind event into Thursday morning when the winds changed direction pushing the fire farther to the south and west and increasing the fire activity. This activity increase took the project out of prescription as the  project objectives were no longer being met. On October 10, the Caples fire was converted to a wildfire from a prescribed fire allowing managers to obtain additional resources not normally available to us for a prescribed fire, such as;  dozers and engines from partners like CALFIRE. The Caples fire is now being managed for full suppression.

October 13, 2019 at 8:49 AM

Structures are threatened. Private timberlands and major municipal watershed remain threatened. Smoke impacts to Highway 88, the Tahoe Basin and surrounding areas are possible. Road, trail and area closures remain in effect in the area.

October 12, 2019 at 9:35 AM

Minimal overnight fire activity due to near freezing temperature and light winds. The fire is 2,100 acres with the change due to more accurate mapping and 25% contained. North and west lines looking good in mopup/patrol stage. Focus on south and east lines today.

October 12, 2019 at 8:41 AM

Fire behavior was minimal last night with backing creeping and smoldering observed. Structures are threatened. Private timberlands and major municipal watershed remain threatened. Smoke impacts to Highway 88, the Tahoe Basin and surrounding areas are possible. Road and area closures remain in effect in the area.

October 11, 2019 at 11:00 AM

The Caples Ecological Restoration Project is restoring fire to the Caples Creek watershed where naturally occurring wildfires started by lighting have been suppressed since 1908. The project is intended to improve forest health, fire resiliency and increase public safety.  Prescribed fire treatments reduce fuel loadings, maintain vegetation conditions that allow fires to burn with lower intensities and create defensible space.

Today: The winds and fire activity died down last night. The fire at 2,143 acres and 20% contained, is still within the planned burn project area. A fire organization is in place and additional resources are here and more on order.

Background: The Caples prescribed burn was declared a wildland fire on October 10 at approximately 1:30 pm. Fire managers made the decision due to unfavorable weather conditions and the inability to meet previously established objectives. This change allows for additional resources to assist in suppression from partners such as CalFire.

The Caples prescribed burn began as pile burning 10 days ago under favorable conditions following rain and snowstorms. This is part of a larger, multi-year forest restoration project. The goal of this project is to promote a healthy resilient forest by reintroducing fire to the landscape. In anticipation of the upcoming strong winds, fire managers began building fireline and conducting firing operations to secure the fire perimeter. Unfavorable conditions over the past few days prevented crews from being able to complete the firing operations contributed to the incident being declared a wildland fire.

Weather Forecast:   The project area is experiencing cooler temperatures and better fuel moisture levels than lower elevations. Winds are expected to decrease Friday and dry weather continues through the weekend. A Red Flag warning remains in effect until Thursday for increased wind activity.Windy conditions are expected to continue through the early evening hours for the Valley, while the mountain and foothill winds linger into the overnight hours. Overall, the winds are forecast to be substantially less on Friday; however, very low relative humidity values are into the weekend.

Smoke: Now that ignitions have been completed, smoke is expected to lighten over the next several days. Note that smoke is typically heavier in the morning after the air cools and settles at night. Smoke can be detected in communities throughout the western Sierra slope of El Dorado County and may also be present in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Carson City, Gardnerville, or Reno depending on wind direction. Our prevailing winds are from the southwest, but the incoming winds are from the north/northeast. Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to reduce their exposure by avoiding smoky areas, closing windows, or staying indoors.

Caution: Due to the active prescribed fire operations in progress, hiking on the Caples Creek Trail is not recommended.

Resources: Additional resources are here and on order. Module numbers will be updated later.

Caples Ecological Restoration Project: The Caples Ecological Restoration Project is a collaborative effort between the Eldorado National Forest, El Dorado Irrigation District and Sierra Nature Conservancy to restore fire to the Caples Creek watershed where naturally occurring wildfires started by lighting have been suppressed since 1908.  The project provides a strategic landscape-wide fuel treatment that will reduce fuel to pre-settlement conditions that will protect the chief water supply to El Dorado County, improve wildlife habitat and create defensible space to nearby communities. The Caples Creek watershed provides a primary water supply for 110,000 people in the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) service area and includes some of the last remaining old growth in the Eldorado National Forest.