By Marlee Ginter

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) – The Caldor Fire is just the latest in a series of fires in the area.  It’s actually long been identified as an area vulnerable to a large fire with mounting forest fuels — considering it hasn’t burned in nearly a decade.

Then, add a growing population with more homes being built, and it’s inevitably a fire risk.  Now, on day three, persistent flames and thick smoke are making it a daunting task for crews.

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“We know this fire has done things that nobody could’ve predicted but that’s how firefighting has been in the state so far this year,” said Jeff Marsolais, US Forest Service Supervisor.

Firefighters are up against challenging conditions on the ground. Experts say the American River Canyon is ripe for big fires because the flames move uphill quickly on steep slopes.  That rough terrain makes air resources critical but even that has had its challenges with smoke from the nearby Dixie Fire.

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“It has to be safe for our pilots to be able to fly and to get in there. But when that air is clear and we can take those targets of opportunities, trust me, we are doing that,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Dusty Martin.

The U.S. Forest Service says there’s been a pattern of human-caused blazes in the area dating back to 1973 with arson. cars, campfires, and powerlines to blame.  But no matter what the challenge, fire crews are more than willing to take it on.

“I know to many it feels like it’s running completely out of control but there’s been a heck of a fire fight in the many days since the initial attack,” said Marsolais.

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