Despite “Great Progress,” King Fire Spreads Into Tahoe National Forest

Crews made "great progress" overnight battling the King Fire east of Sacramento, an official said on Tuesday, but the wildland blaze has now crossed into another county and also into the Tahoe National Forest. The blaze has now scorched close to 90,000 acres.

The King Fire near Pollock Pines was 35 percent contained on Tuesday, just about double what it was the day before, according to the daily update. Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant tweeted out that the nearly 7,400 firefighters had made "great progress" keeping the flames in check.

As of Tuesday, the fire, considered an arson, had scorched about 89,500 acres, crossing from El Dorado County into Placer County and the Tahoe National Forest.

The fire is threatening 12,000 homes and 9,000 other minor structures, Cal Fire reported. Ten homes and 22 other structures have been destroyed in the blaze. More than 2,800 people have been evacuated.

On Sept. 18, the El Dorado County District Attorney charged Wayne Allen Huntsman, 37,  with starting the fire on Sept. 13. The next day, he pleaded not guilty to that felony arson charge.

His sister and ex-girlfriend told an NBC affiliate that they don't believe Huntsman would have ever started the fire. Prosecutors have not released supporting documents explaining why they believe he had "maliciously and willfully" started the fire, according to the charging documents.

Huntsman is being represented by the El Dorado County Public Defender. A call there on Tuesday was not immediately returned. Huntsman was ordered to return to court on Oct. 28.

The weather on Tuesday wasn't expected to help firefighters. 

Red Flag warnings and high winds were expected through Wednesday at 8 p.m., Cal Fire said. To keep residents updated, the Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service have been posting information on a Facebook page. They explained Tuesday how to protect your health from pollutants in the air from the smoke.

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