Sierras on Fire

Five fires suddenly erupted along a 3-1/2 mile stretch of Highway 80 this afternoon. The northern corridor which is the main overland trucking route is closed to westbound eastbound traffic from Applegate to Weimar. This seems awfully suspicious to me, based on the proximity and timing.
Update: Six large air-tankers and five helicopters are hitting the fire. Evacuations are taking place and the sound of numerous explosions is attributed to propane tanks that have gone-up. The fire is expanding rapidly, fanned by the afternoon winds. One home visibly engulfed in flames.
Fire-spokesman suggested when multiple fires occur close to dense population and the freeway such as this, it could very well be a poorly maintained older vehicle with a bad catalytic-converter that spews hot embers and sets fires as it is driven down the mountain, with the driver unawares of whats taking place behind them. Thanks a lot Enviro-Weenies for your pearl-clutching insistence of expensive and yet dangerous-too “safety” equipment like the catalytic-converter that we’re all forced to adopt.
UPDATE: “The Applegate Fire” is now 20% contained with 420 acres burned up in Placer County on Highway 80 between Applegate and Wiemar (pronounced “Wee-Mur”). A single eastbound lane of Hwy 80 has been opened.
The cause is under investigation, but per KCRA.com “At least two callers reported seeing several car tires burning along the interstate’s eastbound shoulder, California Highway Patrol officer Mike Martis said.” And in another report from ABC Newss10 “There was one call of someone throwing papers that were on fire out of a vehicle.”
UPDATE DAY-3: 1400 firefighters, no additional acreage burned (still 420) but only 30% containment. All lanes of Interstate-80 open since 9PM last night. Losses so-far: 6 homes/structures. “Defensible space” has shown its good effects, with many homes saved where it was used while next-door others’ were lost where it was not. Goats are a good way to keep-down the under-story fuels.
They threw a LOT of resources very hard and very quickly at this fire, from air tankers to helicopters and men – and the weather complied with low winds and lower temperatures. We wonder what would have happened if they had attacked the King fire with the same intensity and resources – instead it “blew-up” and grew to 100,000 acres.

Fire Updates-Updated

THURSDAY-UPDATE: The King Fire has grown 50,000 acres in the past 24-hours and has now has consumed 71,000 acres and a record-breaking (?) 150,000 gallons of retardant has been dropped. Still only 5% containment, but at least its consistent! It (and the smoke) is heading north-east up to Hell-Hole reservoir. Thank-You Sierra Nevada (get that, it’s a two-fer) Mountain Yellow-Leg frog! If you exist anymore it’s probably not here in these burnt canyons.
With some “weather” overhead from an offshore storm and some 20% chance of rain over the next few days, the overall humidity has increased to hopefully dampen the fire’s enthusiasm (Think of the Unicorns! Raise awareness of the Rainbows! Hopefully! Chance!) and as winds turn and clock-around drawn by the low-pressure system offshore, the smoke-effects will begin to head down into the Central Valley and that might garner some greater attention. *Cough-cough* Reportedly from sources in the Belly-of-the-Beast there is little on the BayAryan Eco-friendly Greenweenie Sustainable-TV news stations about this fire…
And SUPER Thank-You to Gumshoe Reno for the PDF of a PowerPoodle file Regarding the Relationship Between Forests, Wildfire, and Water in Mariposa County!

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have 1-2 million acre-ft or more of additional runoff every year?”

Maybe not to some people.

UPDATE-UPDATE: 18,544+ acres burned, still only 5% containment. Highway 50 is closed in both directions unconfirmed reports of The Fire jumping the roadway notwithstanding, a backfire was lit that came up to the Highway. The road is being used exclusively by the fire-fighters to access the deep canyon and steep terrain where it’s burning.

UPDATE: The Fire* has jumped Highway 50, somewhere at or between Sly Park Road and Fresh Pond, so nobody is going up to Tahoe tonight. 12,785+ acres burned and still only 5% containment. Out. Of. Control. It’s going off BIG, based on all the dry understory brush that has built-up after a decade or more of poor/insufficient Forest Service mismanagement by the Green-weenies and dumbass Hippies who now (and since the 80’s) run the FS.