Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Sierra Nevada wildfire grows, threatens rural communities

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Firefighters coordinate the ground fire attack on the Rices Fire Tuesday, June 28, 2022, off of Troost Trail, in North San Juan, Calif.
Firefighters coordinate the ground fire attack on the Rices Fire Tuesday, June 28, 2022, off of Troost Trail, in North San Juan, Calif. (Elias Funez/The Union via AP) Photo Gallery

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. (AP) — A Sierra Nevada wildfire destroyed four structures and was a threat to more than 500 homes and other buildings, California authorities said Wednesday.

The Rices Fire grew to 900 acres along the Yuba River in Nevada County, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Unit Chief Brian Estes told an early afternoon briefing.

The fire was still at zero containment, but Estes said he was cautiously optimistic there would be some level of containment by later in the day.

The small communities of Birchville, Sweetland, French Corral, Bridgeport, Rices Crossing, and the Buttermilk area were under evacuation orders.

Authorities said the mandatory evacuation orders affected about 340 people.

Evacuation warnings were issued for areas of neighboring Yuba County, meaning people there should be prepared to leave.

Cal Fire did not specify the types of structures that were destroyed but noted that damage assessment was underway in the burn area.

The fire erupted Tuesday afternoon and made wind-driven runs through critically dry vegetation and drought-stressed trees. Firefighters fought the blaze on the ground and in the air, with aircraft making drops of water and fire retardant.

Estes said that overnight the fire backed down into the Yuba River drainage but did not spot over to the other side of the river.

Authorities said the fire began with a burning building and the flames spread to vegetation.

On the central coast, the 325-acre Camino Fire in San Luis Obispo County was 30 percent contained and no structures were threatened, Cal Fire said. Investigators determined it was ignited by a vehicle’s catalytic converter.

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