Caples Prescribed Fire

Posted on June 28, 2019

Caples Prescribed Fire on Sunday Continues Restoration Project

Smoke will be visible from Highway 88 and Highway 50

PLACERVILLE, Calif. – Firefighters on the Eldorado National Forest will burn 143 acres approximately four miles northwest of Kirkwood this Sunday if weather conditions allow. The two units to be burned are within an 8,800 acre multi-year prescribed fire project in the Caples Creek watershed. Depending on fuel consumption and other factors, it may take two days to successfully complete the burn operations. Visitors should not be alarmed by the smoke that will be visible from Highway 88 and Highway 50.

“An incredible amount of work is needed before fire can be safely reintroduced into watersheds like this one,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. “This project involves constructing 25 miles of handline and a lot of thinning. Restoration partners make projects like this possible.”

The upcoming prescribed fire is being accomplished through a partnership with the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) with grant funding received by EID from SNC’s Watershed Improvement Program (Proposition 1). The Caples Creek watershed is rich in biological diversity and provides a vital community water supply for 110,000 people in EID’s service area.

The area to be burned is on the northern ridge above Caples Creek near Buck Pasture and Hay Flat. Portions of Hay Flat Trail will be temporarily closed.

Approximately 55 firefighters will conduct the upcoming prescribed fire using hand ignition within established control lines. Resources for the operation include 4 engines, 1 water tender, the Iron Mountain Handcrew (Crew 26), and the Eldorado Hotshots. The units being burned are part of a strategy for securing the ridge and the perimeter of the watershed to allow prescribed fire ignitions by helicopter in the future.

Short term smoke is expected and may be present in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Carson City, or Reno with the prevailing southwest winds. Smoke may also occur in Kirkwood, Kyburz, Strawberry and Meyers due to the tendency for smoke to settle with cool air at night. Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to reduce their exposure by avoiding smoky areas, closing windows, or staying indoors.

Updates on the Caples Prescribed Fire will be posted on Twitter at For more information about the Caples Ecological

Restoration Project, please visit the project pages on the forest website.

The U.S.D.A Forest Service is an equal opportunity employer. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.