To make search and rescue in El Dorado County come alive for you, we've provided a number of actual search stories written by various SAR members with different perspectives. As you read them, you will get a first-hand glimpse of what our searches entail. Before you start, it will help to know a little about the terrain and weather in El Dorado County.
As you travel from west to east through El Dorado County, the terrain changes from rolling foothills to thick pine forests to treeless Sierra Nevada peaks nearly 10,000 feet high, attracting many visitors each year (see Crystal Basin Recreation Area photo above). Most SAR missions take place in the eastern high country, which includes the El Dorado National Forest and Desolation Wilderness. Although many areas are accessible by four wheel drive SAR teams, some places can only be searched on horseback or on foot. Typical rescue missions include:
• Lost or injured campers, hunters, hikers
• Plane crash victims in wilderness
• Lost or injured skiers
• Stranded rock climbers
• River rescues
• Diving accidents
Water is abundant. There are 175 lakes, reservoirs and streams, including well-known Lake Tahoe. The American and Cosumnes rivers attract thousands of rafters and kayakers, and the dangerous spring runoff usually brings callouts for the Swiftwater Rescue Team.
Weather in the Sierras can change rapidly, and SAR teams keep one eye on the sky. A classic weather pattern is clear skies in the morning, clouds building rapidly during the day, and violent thunderstorms in the afternoon with rain and hail. Snow can fall nearly any time of the yearit is not unheard of for SAR to rescue people trapped in their campgrounds by unexpected snow on Memorial Day weekend.
We invite you to start on your SAR adventure with us by reading about these searches
(130 search stories through 2010):
|1990 - 1999
2000 - 2009
2010 - 2012
Please note: Any photographs appearing on a search story page are random and
are not specific to that search, unless otherwise noted.
For more information about El Dorado County, see ElDoradoCounty.net
El Dorado National Forest
Crystal Basin Recreation Area
For El Dorado County photos, see the galleries on this website and the El Dorado Gallery