American River Parkway Advocates Bristle At Potential Expansion Of Aftershock Festival

Concert promoter Danny Hayes sees Discovery Park as an ideal venue for his Aftershock heavy metal rock festival. Nearly 38,000 fans attended the two-day event on the American River earlier this month, prompting Hayes to talk about adding a third day and raising the daily attendance cap.

“We’re definitely coming back,” said Hayes, CEO of Los Angeles-based Danny Wimmer Presents. “The numbers prove there is a market there.”

Bill Davis doesn’t share his enthusiasm. The Sacramento resident argues that large, for-profit events such as Aftershock are inappropriate for the American River Parkway, a 29-mile ribbon of open space that starts in Discovery Park and stretches east to Folsom.

Davis is a board member of Save the American River Association, which last year sued the county to stop it from approving foot races, food truck festivals, concerts and other activities that the group contends are harming the ecologically sensitive riparian forest. Formed in 1961, SARA helped establish the American River Parkway, a recreational centerpiece of the Sacramento region. “Our concern is the impact on the park’s resources and wildlife,” Davis said.

Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen also has concerns. Hansen lives in Alkali Flat, a mile from Discovery Park, and heard the festival’s heavy metal music loudly and clearly on both nights.

“It’s a difficult balancing act, between large events and use of the parkway,” Hansen said. “Not every venue is appropriate for every event.”

Sacramento County is responsible for maintaining and managing the parkway, which is both a wildlife corridor and a place where about 5 million people come to play every year. County officials say the parkway is a public resource and its use should be available to any event that complies with the guidelines in a county parkway plan.

In 2014, the county expects to issue permits for 71 events on the parkway, including a Girl Scout camp, 5K runs and concerts. That’s an increase from 2012 and 2013, when there were 66 events permitted each year.

Aftershock is the latest flashpoint. Attendance has risen sharply since the festival drew 12,800 its first year in the city in 2012. In 2013, 30,000 people attended the two-day event. The growing popularity has prompted Danny Wimmer Presents to talk about expansion.

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King Fire: Alleged Arsonist Arrested In El Dorado County

A 37-year-old man was arrested and accused of igniting the massive King Fire, which has burned 71,000 acres of Sierra foothills east of Placerville while sending up a huge column of smoke visible from the Bay Area, officials said Thursday.

El Dorado County authorities took Wayne Allen Huntsman into custody Wednesday on suspicion of felony arson and jailed him in lieu of $10 million bail.

The King Fire, which began Saturday and now ranks as one of the largest wildfires burning in California, has forced thousands from their homes and closed a stretch of Highway 50, the popular route between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe.

Strong mountain winds were pushing the inferno north Thursday through the El Dorado National Forest. But no structures have been damaged because of the fire’s trajectory through sparsely populated hills, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

More than 2,000 homes remain threatened, however.

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Great American River Clean Up Is This Saturday

This Saturday, September 20, offers opportunities to help the community as well as have fun.
During the hours of 9 am to noon the annual Great American River Clean Up will be held. To volunteer and enjoy the outdoors while helping to keep the American River Parkway clean; details and more information can be obtained at the American River Parkway Foundation website.



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King Fire Doubles Overnight

Highway 50 in El Dorado County was closed again early Thursday because of backfires being set in hopes of slowing the King Fire, which more than doubled overnight to 70,994 acres and was only 5 percent contained, authorities said.

The highway was shut down at midnight between Ice House and Sly Park, just hours after it had been reopened, as crews set fires to slow the blaze’s growth. Officials were to decide Thursday morning whether to reopen the heavily traveled trans-Sierra road.

The fire that began Saturday is threatening 2,000 homes in Pollock Pines east of Placerville. About 3,700 firefighters are battling the flames on the ground and by air.

The fire, the cause of which is under investigation, is one of the largest and most closely watched of 11 out-of-control blazes burning in California.

The state’s largest blaze this year is a collection of fires in the Klamath National Forest near the Oregon border called the Happy Camp Fire. On Wednesday, firefighters continued to gain on the 126,000-acre blaze and had it 68 percent contained.

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King Fire Causes Closing Of Hwy 50 In Both Directions From Sly Park To Fresh Pond

Placer County is experiencing poor air quality this morning as a result of the King Fire, which as of Tuesday evening closed Hwy 50 in both directions from Sly Park to Fresh Pond.  The fire is now at 18,544 acres and 5% contained.  1,632 single residences are threatened in the blaze at this time.

The King Fire, located in the canyon of the South Fork of the American River, northeast of the community of Pollock Pines, is currently traveling to the east/northeast, and northwest with a rapid rate of spread. Cal Fire is reporting the fire is burning in steep terrain located in the South Fork American River Canyon and Silver Creek Canyon. Rollouts and spotting continue to be a problem in these areas. Both ground and air resources continue to be challenged by this steep terrain.

For the latest evacuation information, visit the King Fire Information page and see below:

Mandatory Evacuation Orders as of 9/16/14 @ 1950 hrs Bullion Bend Road, Bend Court, Bramble Road, Castlewood Circle, Centerview Court, Centerview Drive, Crystal Summit Road, Darby Lane, Dirt Road Lane, Frontier Road, Hazel Valley Road, Midway Avenue, Mill Run, Old Carson Road, Park Creek Road, Pony Express Trail (east of Sly Park Road), Rampart Court, Ridgecrest Way, Ridgeway Drive, Tall Grass, Stacy Lane, Sunset Drive, Timberwood Way, Twin Mountain Road

Mandatory Evacuation Orders have been issued for the following areas:

Crystal Basin – Hwy 50 east of Fresh Pond to Icehouse, North on Icehouse to Wentworth Springs, west to just above Quintette, to include campgrounds and businesses.

Union Valley Reservoir area, Yellow Jacket Campground, Wolf Creek Campground, Stumpy Meadows Campground, Fashoda Campground, Big Hill Lookout Road, Big Hill Road, Blodgett Forest Road, Bridle Path Way, Forest Road, Frontier Road,Helix Flat Ave, Icehouse Road (west side), Jones Fork Power House Road, Middle Loop Road, Mosquito Road, Onion Valley Road, Outer Limits Lane, Little Silver Road, Loop road, Peavine Point Road, Peavine ridge road, Plum Creek Road, Piolet Creek Road, Robbs Peak Road, Sand Mountain Road, SMUDEA, Spring Road, Sunset Drive, Tricometric Trail, Wentworth Springs (south side, east of Pilot Creek Road), 11 Pines Road.

Mandatory evacuation advisory for the entire community of Swansboro, north of the South Fork of the American River between Brushy Creek and Rock Creek. For a full list of the individual roads go to the Sheriff’s blog at

Evacuation Orders are still in place for the following: Eastside of Forebay road from King of the Mountain Road to Pony Express Trail. All roads north of Pony Express Trail from Forebay road east through Bullion Bend. White Meadows road and Spring Valley Road are also under mandatory evacuation

Shelter Location: Seventh Day Adventist Church at 3520 Carson Road, Camino, CA 95709.



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Fires Plague American River Parkway This Summer

There are sections of the American River Parkway that look like another planet.

Stephen Green was standing in front of one of those places on Friday. The ground was gray and powdery. Charred logs lay splintered on the ground. What was left of a small tree stood by itself among the emptiness.

Was this the fire that burned 30 acres in early August? Or was it the big one on the Fourth of July that nearly messed up a fireworks show atCal Expo and delayed a Sacramento Republic FC soccer match? It could have been the blaze that shut down the Cap City Freeway during the commute one evening in July.

One more question: Who can we blame for this?

“People have to respect this resource,” Green said. “And I don’t think a lot of them do.”

Green has lived in a home that backs up to the parkway for 34 years. He’s president of the Save the American River Association and is heavily invested in what happens here.

So is everyone in this city. By some estimates, the parkway gets 8 million visitors a year. You won’t find a natural resource this big running through the middle of many American cities.

There are fires on the parkway every summer. It’s just that there have been a lot more this year, more than anyone can remember. City firefighters have battled a half-dozen or so blazes already this year that they would consider major. The one on the Fourth of July destroyed 160 acres.

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King Fire At 3,900 Acres, 10 Percent Contained

A 3,900-acre fire burning in the Pollock Pines area of El Dorado County caused many evacuations Sunday afternoon.

As of 7:30 a.m. the King Fire is 10 percent contained and is currently located in the canyon of the south fork of the American river, northeast of the community of Pollock Pines according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department website.

The fire, which started Saturday afternoon, caused 160 mandatory evacuations and 406 voluntary evacuations according to Cal Fire spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff.

There are 806 personnel battling the fire and 500 homes threatened according to Cal Fire PIO’s tweet.

Pollock Pines School District is closed Monday according to Pollock Pine’s School District Secretary Carmen Hodson.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services has arranged for the Red Cross to provide space for sleep and meals for evacuees of the Kings Fire at Sierra Ridge Middle School located on 2700 Amber Trail.

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Salmon Discussion At Nimbus Hatchery Tuesday at 7PM.

A discussion on salmon fishing in the American River will be the final installment in the Nimbus Hatchery speaker series at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the hatchery’s Visitor’s Center, 2001 Nimbus Road, in Rancho Cordova.

Justin Cisneros, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife and an avid fisherman, will share tips for successful salmon fishing, including gear, locations and methods.

Department senior environmental scientists Rob Titus and Mike Healey will talk about the state of the salmon run in the American River and how the department is managing it. Wildlife officer Alan Weingarten will talk about salmon fishing regulations.

Questions from the audience are encouraged.

For more information, call (916) 358-2884.



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Slow Down At Folsom Lake: Rocks Ahead

Put away those water skis because the speed limit on Folsom Lake is now 5 mph.

Beginning Tuesday, state parks officials lowered the speed limit to 5 mph because the drought has caused the reservoir to be so low that a fast-moving vessel or a skier could hit rocks.

The low water level has also left most boat ramps dry. Rattlesnake Bar, Granite Bay, Folsom Point and Peninsula boat ramps are all out of the water and closed to boat launching.

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California Drought: El Niño Chances Fall Again

Hopes of an almighty El Niño bringing rain to a drought-stricken California – with its fallow fields, depleted streams and parched lawns – were further dashed Thursday. The National Weather Service, in its monthly El Niño report, again downgraded the chances of the influential weather pattern occurring in the fall or winter.

The odds were 80 percent in May, but were placed between 60 and 65 percent this week.

Meanwhile, the agency also announced that the much-needed weather event is likely to be weak instead of moderate in strength – another retreat from the more robust projections made earlier this year that fueled speculation that California’s three-year dry spell might be snapped.

El Niños, defined by warming Pacific Ocean waters that release enough energy to shape worldwide weather, have been associated with wet winters in the Golden State. The strong 1997-98 event correlated with San Francisco’s biggest recorded rain year: a whopping 47.2 inches of rain.

But the correlation doesn’t always hold up. While El Niños carry the potential to bring quenching showers, this week’s climate report doesn’t necessarily doom the state to another year of drought.

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