Skip to comments.Wind-driven fires tax crews after official fire season ends(Calif.)
Posted on 11/26/2002 6:26:38 AM PST by madfly
Wind-driven wildfires taxed firefighting crews up and down the northern Sierra Nevada Monday, weeks after the end of northern California's official fire season.
Eldorado National Forest had already laid off 60 seasonal firefighters and was struggling to man its equipment to fight about 15 fires, the largest at 1,000 acres, said spokesman Frank Mosbacher.
Tahoe National Forest also had laid off its seasonal firefighters but was able to find enough crew members to fight blazes totaling about 250 acres, said spokeswoman Ann Westling.
Farther south in Calaveras County, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported six separate fires.
Problems in all three areas began when high winds spread fires set by timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries Inc. more than two weeks ago to burn large piles of logging debris.
The small branches and trees were trimmed from the company's property, ironically, as part of a fuel-reduction program designed to prevent forest fires, said company district manager Tim Feller.
"After seven to 10 inches of rain, we thought we had safe conditions," Feller said. However, winds up to 70 mph ignited fires including the thousand-acre Plum Fire two miles south of Riverton, south of Highway 50.
"This stuff is just wicked," Feller said of the high winds.
The wind knocked a 36-inch-diameter tree on top of one of the company's logging tractors, injuring the driver. He was transported to an area hospital, but neither Feller nor fire officials had an immediate condition report.
About 250 acres were ignited, mostly on Sierra Pacific land, about 22 miles northeast of Nevada City and east of Graniteville. Firefighters hoped to have those fires contained Monday evening after the wind died, Westling said.
Firefighters also contained a separate eight-acre fire north of Nevada City.
The largest Calaveras County fire was 30 acres near the Sourgrass Campground near Highway 4 in Dorrington. There was an additional fire nearby, along with two fires in the West Point area, at one near Sheep Ranch and another near Ebbetts Pass.
No structures were reported threatened by any of the fires.
CDF has more than 1,800 firefighters available in the northern part of the state year-round, so low staff was not a problem despite the official end of fire season, said spokeswoman Karen Terrill.
Published: Monday, November 25, 2002 17:29 PST
P.S. I sure like your little angelic graphic, too!
There was a story out of the AP yesterday about the Sierra Club et al blocking salvage logging on one of this years Oregon fires.
I appreciate the compliment. I've sure been on a roll lately. Lost a few "customers" lol.
What is the deal? Let me guess: the Kalifornians liked the Los Alamos fire so much that they decided to try it, too.
Hmmmm, do ya think the feds will go after SPI for damages to their precious spotted owl preserves? ....maybe settle for some land instead of money? If this was a gov't caused blaze, do you think that the federal biologists would throw more matches while telling the public that they were "meeting their management objectives"?