Friday, August 20, 2010

50 years ago

Fifty years ago today, construction crews working on Interstate 80 along the north side of Donner Lake inadvertently started a huge wildfire on Donner Ridge. Whipped by winds, it roared eastward. Firefighters stopped the blaze from destroying the historic Donner family camp at Alder Creek, however, by bulldozing a line in time to protect the area. Consequently, when three years later Highway 89 was completed and the site had become the Donner Camp Picnic Area, the (alleged) George Donner Tree still stood, and continued to stand until its top fell off about 1996, leaving the snag that remains today. (See the article in today's
Sierra Sun for more about the fire.)