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The latest on major Northern California news events from the Bee newsroom.

June 12, 2008
Fire in South Land Park

Firefighters are battling a blaze that is threatening homes in the South Land Park area.

The fire broke out just after 12 p.m. near Lake Park and Silver Lake Drive, south of Reichmuth Park, said Sacramento Fire Capt. Jim Doucette.

There are big trees and grass on fire.

Two or three houses are threatened, but have not been damaged so far, he said.

The residents have not been asked to leave their homes.

June 12, 2008
Chico woman searching for husband
Nancy Niederholzer seeks her husband, Bob, who she said was last seen Wednesday afternoon on Honey Run Road trying to rescue their dog, Molly.
"I told him to take Molly and get out of here," Niederholzer, 77, said at the Neighborhood Church shelter. Anyone with information about Bob, who is in his 80s, is asked to call the shelter at (530) 879-8838.
Nancy said she thinks Bob is all right because he "is very ingenious and very wise about things."
The two were among residents evacuated from their home due to the Humboldt fire.
June 12, 2008
Mother, daughter evacuated from home
Germaine Jackson, 14, and her mother Kimberly Jackson, 43, were evacuated from their home along Wayland Road near Paradise. They took refuge at the shelter set up at a church in Chico. On Thursday morning, Germaine spoke with the Bee's Chelsea Phua about the approaching fire and being evacuated.
June 12, 2008
Video from fire near Chico

June 12, 2008
Fire raging in Santa Cruz mountains
Update: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Santa Cruz County as a result of the wildfire burning there.

"... The state is committed to doing whatever it takes to assist the locals and provide the resources needed to battle the Martin fire," Schwarzenegger stated in news release issued late Thursday morning.

On Wednesday, the governor directed additional resources and personnel to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Office of Emergency Services to aid in aggressive firefighting efforts.

*****

A 700-acre fire is spreading rapidly in the Santa Cruz mountains west of San Jose and is threatening more than 1,000 homes.

The Martin fire began just before 3 p.m. Wednesday near Highway 9, near the town of Bonny Doon. The fire, which is burning heavy brush and pine, is 5 percent contained, according to online California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection fire information, which was updated at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

The fire is threatening 1,000 homes, 50 commercial business and 50 outbuildings. Mandatory evacuations are in place for Bonny Doon. A large number of road closures also are in place.

An evacuation center has been set up at the San Lorenzo Valley Middle School off Highway 9 in Felton. 



June 11, 2008
Latest on fire near Chico
Update: From Chelsea Phua

Chico - The wildfire in Stilson Canyon east of Chico has grown to 6,000 acres and is 10 percent contained.

Smoke from the fire is visible from the college town and is filling the air with the acrid smell of charred brush. The smoke added a cryptic haze to the sunrise Thursday.

Chico hotels were flooded Wednesday night with evacuees and fire crews. Firefighters were hoping to snag a few hours of sleep before heading out to battle the blaze in the early morning light.


Firefighters are concerned about winds worsening the fire.

Don Carter, a battalion chief for the Sutter Creek Fire Department, which is part of an Amador County strike team responding to the fire, arrived around midnight in Chico.

Carter anticipates windy conditions and high temperatures could make firefighting efforts more difficult.

"We just have to eyes and ears open to weather changes," he said.

An evacuation shelter has been set up at the Neighborhood Church on Notre Dame Boulevard in Chico.

Small animals can be taken to the Butte County Search and Rescue building on Morrow Lane in Chico.

Large animals may be taken to the Chico State farm, located at 311 Nicholas C. Schouten Lane, Chico.


*****

From Rachael Bogert:

The wildfire in Stillson Canyon, off of Highway 32, had burned 3,500 acres as of 7 p.m. today and has not been not contained.

Roughly 250 structures are threatened and one injury has been reported. The fire's cause is still under investigation.

Evacuations are in place for Honey Run Road, Zinfandel Road, Pam Court and Doe Mill Ridge up to Conejo and Neal roads and Wayland Road south.

The Neighborhood Church, 2801 Notre Dame Blvd., in Chico will serve as an evacuation center.
June 11, 2008
Update on fire near Chico
From Chelsea Phua:

From 750 to 1,000 residents along Honey Run Road and its surrounding areas have been ordered to evacuate their homes due to a wildfire in Stillson Canyon, off Highway 32.

The Humboldt fire has burned 2600 acres since it started at 12:13 p.m. Wednesday and is not contained, said Cindy Wilson, a Cal Fire/Butte County Fire information officer.

About 250 homes are currently being threatened along Honey Run Road. Many of the homes are large ranches with animals.
June 11, 2008
Salvation Army helping out
Update: The Sacramento Sierra Chapter of the American Red Cross is planning to close the shelter at Sheldon High School for victims of the Jackson Highway fire at 12 p.m. Thursday.

Red Cross volunteers and staff will continue to provide other services as needed, states a news release.

*****

The Salvation Army has deployed volunteers, mobile canteens and disaster crews to help assist firefighters and fire victims.

Volunteers have set up a mobile cafeteria on Gerber Road near the scene of the Jackson Highway fire, which near Jackson and Excelsior Roads. The facility will serve dinner, snacks and drinks to first responders, disaster workers and fire survivors, a Salvation Army news release states.

Volunteers and monetary donations are needed to help fire survivors. For more information, go to www.tsatoday.org or call (800) SAL-ARMY.
June 11, 2008
Evacuations ordered in Chico fire
Dozens of Chico residents have been ordered to immediately evacuate their homes due to a wildfire in Stillson Canyon, off Highway 32.

The Humboldt fire has burned 200 acres since it started at 12:13 p.m. Wednesday and is not contained, said Cindy Wilson, a Cal Fire/Butte County Fire information officer.

Homes are being evacuated along Honey Run Road, Zinfandel Road, Pam Court, Dough Mill Ridge and along a portion of Centerville Road.

June 11, 2008
Grass fire burning in Rio Linda
Firefighters are responding to a grass fire in Rio Linda.

The fire was reported at 2:57 p.m. in the 6900 block of 26th Street, near Elkhorn Boulevard, a fire dispatcher said.

The fire is near a recreational vehicle storage facility, according to unconfirmed reports heard over a police scanner.

Details will be posted here as they become available.
June 11, 2008
Latest on injured Lincoln firefighters
From Bill Lindelof:

At a press briefing involving the three burned firefighters on the outskirts of Lincoln, fire officials were guarded in their comments about the incident, declining to give names of the injured or exactly how it occurred.

Offiicials explained Wednesday afternoon that the investigation in the blaze was continuing and families had not been informed of the incident.

The media was led by a Cal Fire battalion chief into a field next to burned pasture where they could get a closer look Wednesday afternoon at two burned out wildland firefighting rigs. The rigs were at the edge of a 65 acres of burned grassland under a windbreak of spindly eucalyptus trees, that could have supplied extra fuel for the fire that scorched the dry rangeland.

Hours after the fire broke out, smoke was still coming from the rigs and tires were burned off rims of the specially built engines designed to move quickly across rugged terrain with their load of flame-killing water.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Brand said the fire broke out at about 10 a.m. and that the engines were overrun by fire. Two firefighters went by aircraft to the hospital the other in an ambulance.

The fire is contained and a Cal Fire investigation team is starting to "put the pieces of the puzzle together," said Brand. He described the firefighters injuries as "non life threatening."

He said the winds and dry grass made the fire dangerous. Cause of the fire has not been determined.

"A burnover is a wildland fire department term in which personnel are overran by fire," he said. "By definition it is where the firefighters are entrapped and the fire overruns them. I can't comment on the tactics they were deploying or how it occurred but we are referring to it as a burnover."
June 11, 2008
Lincoln Fire: 2 from Cal Fire, 1 volunteer injured
Update: A Cal Fire spokesman said two of the firefighters injured in the Lincoln blaze were veteran firefighters with Cal Fire and the third was a volunteer with the Placer County Fire Department.

Cal Fire public information officer Daniel Berlant said that two of the firefighters had moderate to severe facial and arm burns. The third was released from the hospital after treatment for minor facial burns.

*****

Fire officials won't release the identities of the firefighters injured while fighting the fire in Lincoln, but a news release by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office identified them as being Cal Fire firefighters.

"I commend our brave firefighters for aggressively fighting these fires across the state, and my heart goes out to the three Cal Fire firefighters who have been injured," Gov. Schwarzenegger stated in a news release.

The two taken to UC Davis suffered moderate to severe burns to the face and arms and the third is being treated for minor facial burns at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, the release states.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also directed more resources to Cal Fire and the Office of Emergency Services and activated two retardant-dropping aircraft Wednesday to help fight the early wildfires throughout the state.

Cal Fire activated 1,227 Cal Fire personnel and deployed 167 fire engines, 51 crews, seven air tankers, 22 bulldozers and eight helicopters. Emergency services deployed one Operational Area Satellite Information System (OASIS) trailer with phone, data and communications to a 4,200-acre fire in Monterey County. The department also deployed four of five new wildland fire engines - which Schwarzenegger unveiled last week - to an 800-acre fire in Tuolumne County.

"Time and again, our history has demonstrated that we must move early, have the resources available and work together to fight these fires and keep people safe," Schwarzenegger stated in the release.

Four "significant fires" are burning throughout the state:

  • The Indians Fire has burned 4,200 acres in the Los Padres National Forest. It is 10 percent contained.
  • The Ophir Fire has burned 1,600 acres near Palermo, south of Oroville in Butte County. It is 60 percent contained.
  • The La Grange Fire has burned 800 acres in the area of Cooperstown and La Grange in Tuolumne County. It is 30 percent contained.
  • The Pine Fire has burned 860 acres in Sonoma County. It is 80 percent contained.

For more fire information, go to www.oes.ca.gov or http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current.


June 11, 2008
Fire danger shuts three Fairfield park areas
Fairfield officials announced this afternoon that the city has closed two open space areas and a park due to the elevated fire danger.

Spyglass Open Space, the Serpas Ranch/Rolling Hills Open Space and Rockville Hills Regional Park have been closed until the current weather conditions subside, a city e-mail stated.
The park and open space areas will be shut at all access points.

The closures are prompted by the red flag warnings in effect for the area.



June 11, 2008
Wind, low humidity are bad cocktail for fire risk
From Maddalena Jackson:

The reason we have windy conditions right now is that there is a high and low pressure system too close to one another, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist.

This causes a wind rotation in different directions and the wind is funneling between the two and downward. This is a larger-than-normal pressure system.

The fire risk is high right now because we have extremely dry conditions and wind. It wouldn't be as bad if there were just high temperatures without wind.

Firefighting is harder in the foothills when these conditions exist because of uneven terrain, making fire predictability harder.

The intensity of the fire risk the Sacramento region is currently experiencing isn't typically seen until October.
June 11, 2008
See a fire? Report it!
Want to tip us off to a fire or fire-related activity? E-mail us at newstips@sacbee.com. Please include your name and a contact phone number.

June 11, 2008
Update on the Lincoln fire - news from the scene
Thumbnail image for cdc_fire_injury_2.JPG
(Photo by Carl Costas)


From Bill Lindelof:

Two fire trucks are still smoking after being burned during a 65-acre fire in rural Lincoln Wednesday.

There were two firefighters in one truck and one firefighter in another when the fire overcame the vehicles.

All three firefighters suffered non life-threatening injuries. Two of the firefighters were taken by helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center. The other was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

The trucks continue to smolder underneath a thin grove of eucalyptus trees that serve as a windbreak on a rural piece of property.

The trees also burned.

The fire is now under control, but crews are keeping close watch on the burn area.

Fire officials won't release the identities of the injured firefighters, but a news release by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office identified them as being Cal Fire firefighters. The two taken to UC Davis suffered moderate to severe burns to the face and arms and the third is being treated for minor facial burns at Sutter Roseville Medical Center.

The fire burned vacant rice fields near the Lincoln Airport. Also nearby are a hay business and stacks of large timber.



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