2003 Tahoe Donner Fire

Emily and I hiked out to the John Benson ski hut this morning. It’s about a six mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail starting at Donner Summit, going through Sugar Bowl and then along the ridge toward Squaw Valley. On the way back we noticed a small fire about 100m from I80 just East of the upper Donner Lake exit.

When we first saw the fire, it was about the size of a house. Stupidly I forgot to take a picture. We hiked for another ten or fifteen minutes around the backside of the ridge and then saw the fire again. This time the strong winds had blown the fire up the ridge toward Tahoe Donner. We watched the tanker airplanes attack the fire for about twenty minutes. Look for the small red dot in the closeup photos to see the chemical drop. We also saw what must have been a propane tank explosion near the top of the ridge.

We hiked back to the trailhead and finally saw the fire again. This time the lower part looked mostly out, but it looked like the fire was over the ridge and headed into TD.

Once you see how fast a fire can move, and how quickly it can destroy things, it makes you truely angry at anyone who starts any sort of fire here in the beautiful Sierras.

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