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Bay Area Crews Help Fight Mosquito Fire Near Lake Tahoe

Dozens of firefighters from the Bay Area are battling the Mosquito Fire near Lake Tahoe, defending homes and other buildings threatened by flames.

The Santa Clara Fire Department sent crews to the Mosquito Fire along with San Jose, Redwood City, Santa Rosa and several other Bay Area departments.

Mosquito Fire is ripping through both El Dorado and Placer counties. As of Saturday night, the fire has burned about 37,326 acres and is still 0% contained.

More than 11,000 people have been evacuated and more than 5,000 homes and buildings are threatened.

“That crew has been up at the Mosquito Fire for several days now. And currently today actually, they are working on structure protection and prepping homes for the potential for them to be impacted by fire,” said Paul Lowenthal of the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

Johnny Worton, owner of Worton’s Market in Foresthill returned to his business to make sure the firefighters protecting his community have the snacks, drinks and supplies they need. He also checked on his own business.

“We did find that some of our refrigeration had down while we were gone. So, there were some problems,” he said.

On Saturday, Crews used hand tools to cut wide lines they hope will slow the inferno.

“One of our biggest challenges is this terrain. We have heavy fuels, they are incredibly dry because haven’t had any precipitation anywhere in Northern California for several years. So, the fuels are very dry, it’s ready for ignition, and then, in this particular area, there are very steep canyons,” said Chris Vestal, a spokesperson for the Mosquito Fire.

Vestal said that crews also have to deal with high heat and poor air quality.

“The air quality is bad at the site of the fire and we had this inversion now for about two days. So, we are breathing in that particulate matter, but one of the things it possesses a challenge with is aircraft, when there is too much smoke, they are unable to see where they are making drops or laying down retardant line,” he said.

As Bay Area crews are work 24-hour shifts to try to gain the upper hand, a team from San Jose State University’s fire lab is working to scan the plume of the fire. The hope is the experience and expertise from Bay Area will help save another California community.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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