Wildland Fire Sends Scare Through Tahoe-Donner

Wildfire the 2003 Season
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Firefighters got help from Mother Nature in their battle against a 70-acre wildfire, but not before the blaze put a scare into an upscale Sierra Nevada community.

California Department of Forestry spokesman Daniel Berlant said the fire threatened many houses in the Tahoe Donner subdivision just west of Truckee after it broke out about 2 p.m. Saturday.

But a fire break built by firefighters prevented flames from reaching any homes, and no homes were threatened Saturday evening, he said.

"The fire break saved those homes," Berlant said.

Nevada County sheriff's dispatcher Jan McHugh said the fire just to the north of Interstate 80 was 25 percent contained by the evening.

The fire spread quickly because of high winds, but firefighters were helped later Saturday when winds died down and temperatures dropped.

"It looks like they're getting a handle on it," McHugh said. "With the winds the way they were and the vegetation being so dry, we're really lucky."

No evacuations were ordered, and no injuries were reported.

Fire officials also credited eight air tankers and two helicopters for helping to contain the blaze in steep terrain. More than 50 firefighters also took part.

The fire caused no major problems on the interstate, the California Highway Patrol said.

The fire is under investigation, but it was believed to be human-caused.