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King Fire: Structures Destroyed; More Firefighting Crews On Way

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Firefighter Cameron Andersen, of the US Forest Service, pours water on burning embers while clearing hot spots of the King fire in the El Dorado National Forest near Georgetown, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

More than 4,425 firefighters are working Friday to contain the 76,376 acre King Fire in El Dorado and Placer counties. The fire is approaching the Tahoe National Forest north of the Eldorado National Forest.

Fire officials Friday afternoon confirmed structures have been damaged or destroyed in the White Meadows area, about eight miles east of Pollock Pines and just north of Highway 50.

But Cal Fire spokesman Larry Pendarvis said damage assessment crews won't start work until hazards are removed.

"Thus far it has not been safe due to the possible hazardous materials, downed power lines, possible unsafe timber, we may need to fall trees before we can get in there,” said Pendarvis.

Pendarvis said favorable weather conditions overnight - higher humidity and calm winds - helped, but shifting winds and higher temperatures are a "major concern, especially on the southwest portion of the fire."

He said steep terrain, heavy timber and dry vegetation from the prolonged California drought, have made firefighting conditions especially tough.

Pendarvis said 15 helicopters are dropping buckets of water in order to slow the spread of the fire and to protect homes and other structures.

He said fixed-wing aircraft are also dropping retardant.

The aircraft are concentrating on the west side of the fire, they are pre-treating the contingency lines that we have put in, and that is putting retardant down adjacent to the contingency lines we have established,” said Pendarvis.

He said along with setting containment lines, the priority of crews remains the protection of homes in Pollock Pines and other nearby communities.

Pendarvis said additional Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service crews will be joining the firefighting effort.

 wildfiresKing Fire

Ed Joyce

Former All Things Considered Anchor & Reporter

Ed Joyce is a former reporter and All Things Considered news anchor at Capital Public Radio. Ed is a veteran journalist with experience in a variety of news positions across all media platforms, including radio, television, web and print.   Read Full Bio