Sierra wildfire forces closures, evacuations along Highway 50

Posted Jul 26, 2015 by Nathan Salant
Highway 50 in California's Sierra Nevada mountains was shut down Thursday afternoon as a wildfire burned out of control near the town of Kyburz in El Dorado County.
WATER DROP: A firefighting plane helps to battle the Kyburz fire in California s Sierra Nevada mount...
WATER DROP: A firefighting plane helps to battle the Kyburz fire in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. State Highway 50 had to be closed in both directions Thursday but began to reopen gradually on Friday as scores of local, state and U.S. firefighters made progress against the flames.
@shania_pence, Twitter
The Kyburz fire had spread to more than 100 acres Thursday afternoon and was beginning to threaten buildings in the towns of Kyburz and White Hall in the El Dorado National Forest, Sgt. Jeff Leikauf of the El Dorado County Fire Dept. told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
The blaze was started by a vehicle fire, Leikauf said.
The highway, the primary route between Lake Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay Area, was closed in both directions Thursday between Ice House Road and Strawberry as fire burned on both sides of the road, but the vital thoroughfare was able to be reopened Friday with limited access.
Cars were limited to one lane and had to be accompanied by firefighters.
A mandatory evacuation order was issued for the area between White Hall and the Sand Flat campground, the newspaper said.
“The winds are calm, so that’s working in our favor,” said Kristi Schroeder, a Forest Service spokeswoman.
“We’ve ordered a full response and have crews on the way,” she said.
A worker at the Silver Fork Store in Pollock Pines, James Chang, said he could see smoke and was advised by a sheriff’s deputy to evacuate.
“I’m a little worried,” Chang said.
“But the smoke is not that severe, so I’m going to wait and see,” he said.
An evacuation center was been set up at the Pollock Pines-Camino Community Center at 2675 Sanders Dr. in Pollack Pines.