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Caples Fire

Unit Information

Eldorado National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
100 Forni RD Placerville California 95667
Placerville, CA 95667

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Incident Contact

Information
Phone: 530 303-2412
Hours: M-F 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

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Engines: 24    Crews: 15     Water Tenders: 4    Helicopters: 4     Dozers: 2         Total Personnel: 510

Monday PM (14th):  Firefighters continued to make good progress toward full containment today.  The increase in acreage is a result of tactical firing operations on the south side which eliminated pockets of unburned fuel adjacent to the fire line.  Firing operations to secure indirect lines on the southern perimeter are expected to continue for two more days if conditions are favorable.  This part of the fire line has less fuel in scattered rock outcrops, which should result in reduced smoke from previous operations.  

Weather Forecast:  A quiet weather pattern Monday as the weak trough from Sunday pushes east and weak high pressure tries to build over the region. This will keep winds light through most of the day with light east winds in the morning turning light southwest/upcanyon in the afternoon hours. The lighter winds aloft will likely keep the smoke closer to the surface and less well mixed. The moderate temperatures, humidity and winds should be favorable for firing operations though fuels remain critically dry. Winds along the southern edge of the fire should be favorable with light wind speeds allowing the fire to draw back into the burned area. For night operations the down canyon winds will likely bring heavy smoke back over the fire with moderate humidity recovery.

Smoke: Expect smoke from the tactical firing operations for the next 2-3 days as firefighters continue to secure the southern fire containment line. Residual smoke from the Caples fire can be expected through the weekend. 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. Smoke levels can be monitored at www.purpleair.com or www.airnow.gov .

Evacuations:  None

Road Closures: Due to the fire operations in progress, hiking and hunting in the Silver Fork/ Caples Creek area is not recommended. The following roads and trails are closed by Forest Order number 03-19-09 . If you see a road blocked for fire activity, please comply to keep firefighters and the public safe. 

 Forest Roads: 10N40 (Silver fork 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 (Silver fork Road), then north 10.12 miles. 10N13 (Schneider Camp Road), 10N16 (Martin Meadow Road), 10N16A, and 10N16E. 

 Forest Trails: 17E13, 17E14, 17E15, 17El6, 17E17, 17E20, 17E22, 17E49, 17E51, 17E53, 17E63, 17E71, 17E73, 17E74,and 17E78.

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.

Caples Ecological Restoration Project: 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. The goal of this project is to promote a healthy resilient forest by reintroducing fire to the landscape. 

The Caples Ecological Restoration Project is a collaborative effort between the Eldorado National Forest, El Dorado Irrigation District and Sierra Nevada 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.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginThursday October 10th, 2019 approx. 02:00 PM
LocationNorthern ridge above Caples Creek north of Highway 88
Incident CommanderSean Johnny, USFS Type 3 Team
Coordinates38.724 latitude, -120.145 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel510
Size3,133 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained46%
Estimated Containment DateFriday October 18th, 2019 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

timber, chaparral