King Fire Causes Closing Of Hwy 50 In Both Directions From Sly Park To Fresh Pond

Placer County is experiencing poor air quality this morning as a result of the King Fire, which as of Tuesday evening closed Hwy 50 in both directions from Sly Park to Fresh Pond.  The fire is now at 18,544 acres and 5% contained.  1,632 single residences are threatened in the blaze at this time.

The King Fire, located in the canyon of the South Fork of the American River, northeast of the community of Pollock Pines, is currently traveling to the east/northeast, and northwest with a rapid rate of spread. Cal Fire is reporting the fire is burning in steep terrain located in the South Fork American River Canyon and Silver Creek Canyon. Rollouts and spotting continue to be a problem in these areas. Both ground and air resources continue to be challenged by this steep terrain.

For the latest evacuation information, visit the King Fire Information page and see below:

Mandatory Evacuation Orders as of 9/16/14 @ 1950 hrs Bullion Bend Road, Bend Court, Bramble Road, Castlewood Circle, Centerview Court, Centerview Drive, Crystal Summit Road, Darby Lane, Dirt Road Lane, Frontier Road, Hazel Valley Road, Midway Avenue, Mill Run, Old Carson Road, Park Creek Road, Pony Express Trail (east of Sly Park Road), Rampart Court, Ridgecrest Way, Ridgeway Drive, Tall Grass, Stacy Lane, Sunset Drive, Timberwood Way, Twin Mountain Road

Mandatory Evacuation Orders have been issued for the following areas:

Crystal Basin – Hwy 50 east of Fresh Pond to Icehouse, North on Icehouse to Wentworth Springs, west to just above Quintette, to include campgrounds and businesses.

Union Valley Reservoir area, Yellow Jacket Campground, Wolf Creek Campground, Stumpy Meadows Campground, Fashoda Campground, Big Hill Lookout Road, Big Hill Road, Blodgett Forest Road, Bridle Path Way, Forest Road, Frontier Road,Helix Flat Ave, Icehouse Road (west side), Jones Fork Power House Road, Middle Loop Road, Mosquito Road, Onion Valley Road, Outer Limits Lane, Little Silver Road, Loop road, Peavine Point Road, Peavine ridge road, Plum Creek Road, Piolet Creek Road, Robbs Peak Road, Sand Mountain Road, SMUDEA, Spring Road, Sunset Drive, Tricometric Trail, Wentworth Springs (south side, east of Pilot Creek Road), 11 Pines Road.

Mandatory evacuation advisory for the entire community of Swansboro, north of the South Fork of the American River between Brushy Creek and Rock Creek. For a full list of the individual roads go to the Sheriff’s blog at

Evacuation Orders are still in place for the following: Eastside of Forebay road from King of the Mountain Road to Pony Express Trail. All roads north of Pony Express Trail from Forebay road east through Bullion Bend. White Meadows road and Spring Valley Road are also under mandatory evacuation

Shelter Location: Seventh Day Adventist Church at 3520 Carson Road, Camino, CA 95709.



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Fires Plague American River Parkway This Summer

There are sections of the American River Parkway that look like another planet.

Stephen Green was standing in front of one of those places on Friday. The ground was gray and powdery. Charred logs lay splintered on the ground. What was left of a small tree stood by itself among the emptiness.

Was this the fire that burned 30 acres in early August? Or was it the big one on the Fourth of July that nearly messed up a fireworks show atCal Expo and delayed a Sacramento Republic FC soccer match? It could have been the blaze that shut down the Cap City Freeway during the commute one evening in July.

One more question: Who can we blame for this?

“People have to respect this resource,” Green said. “And I don’t think a lot of them do.”

Green has lived in a home that backs up to the parkway for 34 years. He’s president of the Save the American River Association and is heavily invested in what happens here.

So is everyone in this city. By some estimates, the parkway gets 8 million visitors a year. You won’t find a natural resource this big running through the middle of many American cities.

There are fires on the parkway every summer. It’s just that there have been a lot more this year, more than anyone can remember. City firefighters have battled a half-dozen or so blazes already this year that they would consider major. The one on the Fourth of July destroyed 160 acres.

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King Fire At 3,900 Acres, 10 Percent Contained

A 3,900-acre fire burning in the Pollock Pines area of El Dorado County caused many evacuations Sunday afternoon.

As of 7:30 a.m. the King Fire is 10 percent contained and is currently located in the canyon of the south fork of the American river, northeast of the community of Pollock Pines according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department website.

The fire, which started Saturday afternoon, caused 160 mandatory evacuations and 406 voluntary evacuations according to Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff.

There are 806 personnel battling the fire and 500 homes threatened according to Cal Fire PIO’s tweet.

Pollock Pines School District is closed Monday according to Pollock Pine’s School District Secretary Carmen Hodson.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services has arranged for the Red Cross to provide space for sleep and meals for evacuees of the Kings Fire at Sierra Ridge Middle School located on 2700 Amber Trail.

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Salmon Discussion At Nimbus Hatchery Tuesday at 7PM.

A discussion on salmon fishing in the American River will be the final installment in the Nimbus Hatchery speaker series at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the hatchery’s Visitor’s Center, 2001 Nimbus Road, in Rancho Cordova.

Justin Cisneros, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife and an avid fisherman, will share tips for successful salmon fishing, including gear, locations and methods.

Department senior environmental scientists Rob Titus and Mike Healey will talk about the state of the salmon run in the American River and how the department is managing it. Wildlife officer Alan Weingarten will talk about salmon fishing regulations.

Questions from the audience are encouraged.

For more information, call (916) 358-2884.



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Slow Down At Folsom Lake: Rocks Ahead

Put away those water skis because the speed limit on Folsom Lake is now 5 mph.

Beginning Tuesday, state parks officials lowered the speed limit to 5 mph because the drought has caused the reservoir to be so low that a fast-moving vessel or a skier could hit rocks.

The low water level has also left most boat ramps dry. Rattlesnake Bar, Granite Bay, Folsom Point and Peninsula boat ramps are all out of the water and closed to boat launching.

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California Drought: El Niño Chances Fall Again

Hopes of an almighty El Niño bringing rain to a drought-stricken California – with its fallow fields, depleted streams and parched lawns – were further dashed Thursday. The National Weather Service, in its monthly El Niño report, again downgraded the chances of the influential weather pattern occurring in the fall or winter.

The odds were 80 percent in May, but were placed between 60 and 65 percent this week.

Meanwhile, the agency also announced that the much-needed weather event is likely to be weak instead of moderate in strength – another retreat from the more robust projections made earlier this year that fueled speculation that California’s three-year dry spell might be snapped.

El Niños, defined by warming Pacific Ocean waters that release enough energy to shape worldwide weather, have been associated with wet winters in the Golden State. The strong 1997-98 event correlated with San Francisco’s biggest recorded rain year: a whopping 47.2 inches of rain.

But the correlation doesn’t always hold up. While El Niños carry the potential to bring quenching showers, this week’s climate report doesn’t necessarily doom the state to another year of drought.

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Bike Trail Riders Should Avoid Scene Of Grass Fire Along American River

Bicycle commuters were being asked to avoid the bike trail near Del Paso Boulevard Friday morning as Sacramento Fire Department crews mopped up a grass fire in the area.

The 2-alarm blaze broke out about 4:30 a.m. Friday near Del Paso Boulevard and the bike trail in brush, grass and trees. The dry conditions, heavy vegetation and a moderate morning breeze spread the fire into the canopy of the trees for a time.

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Sac State Sustainability Adopts Parkway, Volunteer Efforts In Cleaning

The Sac State Sustainability team has added another project in effort to make the campus more environmentally aware, with the recent adoption of Mile 7 South of the American River Parkway.

The “Adopt a Parkway” program through the foundation allows organizations in the Sacramento area to “adopt” individual miles, becoming volunteer stewards of their adopted miles.

This includes clean-up efforts and monitoring the parkway for anything that needs attention from the American River Parkway Foundation, such as broken picnic tables, damage to the parkway itself or invasive plant species.

“This is a great relationship and we are incredibly happy to be partners with Sacramento State Sustainability,” said Meghan Toland, volunteer coordinator for the American River Parkway Foundation. “This will help all who use the parkway around Sacramento State, students and others who use the parkway for recreational use.”

Part of the agreement in becoming stewards is ensuring volunteer hours are met. At least 20 man hours must be completed per quarter. All trash bags, sign in sheets and volunteer resources are provided by the foundation.

According to Joey Martinez, Recycling and Sustainability Coordinator for Sacramento State, how and who completes 20 hours of required service is up to the volunteers.

“This can be 20 people committing one hour of their time or even 2 people committing 10 hours—as long as it adds up to 20 hours per quarter,” said Martinez.

For Sac State, this means faculty, students and staff will be able to have a hands-on experience in helping sustain the parkway that has become a staple for both the university and Sacramento.

“Mile 7 South has the potential to become a bigger part of the Sac State community in that it will allow for the members of said community to become more invested as its environmental stewards,” Toland said.

The campus population taking active steps in caring for the parkway is exactly what the American River Parkway Foundation looks for in volunteers,Toland said.

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Folsom Lake Spillway Keeps To Schedule, Budget

The approximately $900 million auxiliary spillway for Folsom Dam, which will increase the dam’s release capacity and reduce flood risk downstream, is “on time and on budget” for its scheduled October 2017 completion.

 Also on schedule are the first phase of the project’s control structure, scheduled to wrap up in the summer of 2015, and the second phase, set for completion in May 2017, said Katie Huff, a senior project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Site restoration will begin in 2016-17,” she said.

The auxiliary spillway’s completion target is four years sooner than the original planned completion date of 2021 — and nearly $416 million below original cost projections.

Construction on the new dam, the control structure, began in May 2012. Crews have been working nearly around the clock, six days a week, to meet the completion deadline of mid-2015.

The third year of California drought hasn’t had an impact on construction of the auxiliary spillway. It’s essentially a second dam that will allow water to be released earlier and more safely from Folsom Lake during large storms.

Rather, with the extended dry conditions, “We’ve been able to do work in the ‘dry,’ instead of the ‘wet,’” said Huff, who lives in El Dorado Hills.

The Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California’s Central Valley Flood Protection Board and the Sacramento Flood Control Agency are working together to build the auxiliary spillway to increase its release capacity and reduce flood risk downstream.

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Folsom Lake High Enough To Fend Off 5 MPH Speed Limit

Folsom Lake levels are high enough to fend off a 5 mph speed limit for Labor Day weekend — and boaters are pleasantly surprised, considering the statewide drought.

“We get to still use the lake. Summer is not over for us,” said Tim Vas Dias, a boater who uses Folsom Lake often. “We thought it would be closed by July 4 with the shortage of water and the drought situation we have here in California.”

Park officials told KCRA 3 on Thursday they will hold off on the 5 mph speed limit until after the holiday weekend.

The 5 mph speed limit is often imposed when the level of the lake is so low that there are many obstructions, like exposed rocks or old tree stumps.

The limit is often seen as the end of the season for boaters. The trigger for imposing the 5 mph speed limit is a lake level of about 400 feet.

Currently, Folsom Lake stands at about 400.54 inches.

People who use the lake frequently thought the drought would have dropped the lake levels much faster.

“Honestly, I thought they were going to have 5 mph in place a long time ago the way the lake was dropping,” said Mark Lerch, who uses the lake almost every day after work by taking out his personal watercraft. “It was dropping so quick, it seemed like a foot or two a day at the start of summer.”

State water officials said the reason the lake level on Folsom has not dropped faster is that this year, they have managed the water systems, upriver and down, even more meticulously than ever.

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