Category Archives: Fire

Fire that scorched American River Parkway started by ‘human activity’

A grass fire that burned an estimated 173 acres along the American River Parkway and prompted the evacuation of Cal Expo on Thursday was caused by “human activity,” according to fire investigators.

A statement released Friday by the Sacramento Fire Department said investigators “cannot state whether the blaze was accidentally or intentionally set.”

Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Chris Harvey said in an interview that there are “homeless camps up and down the American River Parkway,” but the exact cause of the fire has not been pinpointed.

“They’re still interviewing witnesses. It’s very difficult right now to tell how it started,” Harvey said.

Harvey said fire units were dispatched at 1:13 p.m. Thursday, with a second alarm sounded shortly thereafter as the blaze spread quickly amid dry grass and breezy conditions.

At the height of the fire, officials said more than 30 engines and 130 firefighters were involved. Equipment on the scene included bulldozers and helicopters.

An unidentified Sacramento firefighter from Engine 19 showed symptoms of excessive smoke inhalation while battling the flames. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated Thursday night and released.

Cal Expo spokeswoman Sabrina Rodriguez said two events – an RV show and rental housing association conference – were being held on the venue grounds and had to shut down about 2 p.m. Thursday due to the fire. Rodriguez said event participants and staff members left the property. Cal Expo also moved its monorail trains as the fire was burning near the monorail barn.

Jim Lofgren, executive director of the Rental Housing Association of the Sacramento Valley, said about 1,000 people attending the association’s annual one-day conference were directed to leave Cal Expo.

The American River Parkway was closed Thursday afternoon as firefighters, trucks and heavy equipment moved into the area. Park rangers used loudspeakers to announce that the parkway was now off limits. The bike trail was reopened Friday morning.

Harvey said that as the fire spread eastward, “there was a possibility of neighborhood evacuations” along the west side of the Howe Avenue corridor south of Arden Way. However, evacuations were called off when the eastward spread of the fire was stopped near Ethan Way.

Harvey said overhead power lines in the area began arcing due to high flames and heat, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District turned off the lines. Nearby residents as well as some homes in Davis and West Sacramento reported power surges and some power loss during the fire, Harvey said.

Firefighters also had to deal with spot fires as winds blew embers into dry grass bordering the path of the main fire.

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Mop up continues on American River Parkway fire

Sacramento firefighters kept an overnight vigil on the American River Parkway fire that blanketed parts of Sacramento in smoke and ash Thursday evening.

Firefighters contained the blaze at around 176 acres, but continued to mop up hot spots that smoldered Friday morning.

Under a full moon, embers rained down from trees left smoldering in the blackened area behind Cal Expo.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, though the origin did appear to be near a homeless camp, according to the fire department’s spokesman.

The evacuation order at Cal Expo was lifted after an estimated 1,000 people were asked to leave the grounds Thursday afternoon.

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Crews Contain 176-Acre Fire Near Cal Expo

UPDATE 6:16 p.m.: Crews with the Sacramento Fire Department have contained a grass fire that burned 175 acres on the American River Parkway near Cal Expo Thursday. The blazed prompted officials to close the bike trail for evening commuters.

As of 6:24 p.m., crews are mopping up and will continue to clean up through the night. Officials say there are multiple fires still burning within the perimeter of the blaze.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: The Sacramento Fire Department is fighting a two-alarm fire between Cal Expo and the American River bike trail Thursday afternoon.

Chris Harvey is with the department. He says the winds moved the fire fairly quickly.

“Along the bike trail there, it’s relatively flat and the fuels are more like shin-high to waist-high fuels,” says Harvey. “But, once the wind started blowing it to the north, it started getting into some of these taller cottonwoods and the star thistle and then the fire really takes off.”

Cal Expo employees and people who live at the stables were evacuated.

Park rangers evacuated the homeless camps in the area.

One person was treated for smoke inhalation.

No cause has been identified. This is the third fire in the area in the last 48 hours.

Firefighters will be mopping up for several hours.

UPDATE:  Sacramento Fire officials say the blaze at American River Parkway continues to burn Thursday afternoon.

Helicopters have been unable to drop water close to the fire due to power lines in the area.

Some homeless people living on the parkway have been evacuated. Cal Expo employees and residents nearby have also been evacuated.

Officials say two fires have been started in the area within the last 58 hours.

One person was treated for smoke inhalation.

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Large fire burns along American River Parkway

Firefighters are battling a large blaze burning south of Cal Expo near Business Interstate 80 along the American River Parkway in Sacramento.

The blaze broke out sometime before 1:15 p.m. near mile marker 5 along the American River.

Crews were getting a handle on the fire when flames jumped a fire road and burned toward Cal Expo. LiveCopter 3 spotted sparks coming from transformers and power lines in the area where the blaze was burning.

People at Cal Expo have been evacuated because of the fire as much of the smoke moves that direction. The blaze is moving to the northeast, away from Business 80.

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Grass fire burns 6 acres on river parkway near Gold River

The Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District reports that crews have halted the progress of fire burning along the American River Parkway near the Gold River access.

The fire was reported at 4:27 p.m., on the south side of the American River west of the Natomas Fish Hatchery. Capt. Michelle Eidam, fire district spokeswoman, said the fire was burning in heavy vegetation, with trees torching. She said county park rangers closed the bike trail in that area due to the firefighting activity.

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Firefighters contain 85 percent of Trailhead Fire

Firefighters on Wednesday had brought the Trailhead Fire to 85 percent containment — a 60 percent increase from Independence Day.

The fire, in Placer and El Dorado counties, now covers 5,619 acres. It’s caused three injuries and threatens 2,600 buildings, though no structures have been damaged or destroyed, Cal Fire said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The blaze, in the middle fork of the American River, near Todd Valley, began June 28. At one point over 2,100 people battled the fire, though that number had dropped by Wednesday to about 1,600.

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Trailhead Fire Containment Grows

The Trailhead Fire ignited on June 28 in the Middle Fork of the American River Canyon in Placer county. The fire is now burning in El Dorado County and on the Eldorado National Forest. Crews hope to have the blaze fully contained by Saturday July 09.

The fire is currently burning 5,614 acres with 75 percent containment according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Three injuries are attributed to the fire. No homes have been damaged or destroyed. All evacuations on the El Dorado County side of the fire were lifted yesterday at 5 p.m.

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Fire grows to 5,044 acres in El Dorado, Placer counties

The wildfire in El Dorado and Placer counties has now burned 5,044 acres and 20 percent contained, according to Cal Fire officials Sunday.

About 2,600 structures are threatened by the fire but none were reported damaged or destroyed by the fire so far, officials said.

Fire crews continue to monitor fire lines, hoping to slow down the so-called Trailhead Fire, especially near the Volcanoville area.

The containment lines held overnight in Placer County, where fire crews patrolling and monitoring fire lines, officials said. Residents in Todd Valley remain under voluntary evacuation.

Placer County mandatory evacuations have been downgraded to voluntary: Only residents with photo ID will be allowed beyond the staffed roadblocks. All homes east of Green Ridge Road to Oakwood Lane to Nugget Drive, Skyview Terrace Mobile Home Park, Oak Wood Court, Vinewood Court, Trail Head Court, Green Pine Court, Alton Trail Court, Gray Court, Tevis Court and White Tail Court and homes to the west of the above.

As for road closures in Placer County, Nugget Drive and Oakwood Lane are restricted to residents only, officials said.

The favorable temperatures overnight helped fire crews maintain containment lines on the El Dorado County side of the Trailhead Fire, Cal Fire said.

Crews have completed the line from west of Jakeys Hill, west to Buckeye Point and eventually to the American River, officials said. Several spot fires occurred Saturday night but firefighters were able to stop them and hold the fire at the river. Crews will continue to monitor Sunday.

In the Volcanoville area, fire crews are continuing to strengthen the fire lines west of the community in areas around Volcanoville, Kentucky Flat and Bottle Hill, officials said. There is still a mandatory evacuation order in effect for those areas.

The only campground directly affected by the fire is Dru Barner in the Georgetown Ranger District, which is within the fire closure area, Cal Fire said. No roads or campgrounds are closed in the Tahoe National Forest due to this fire.

Access to the middle fork of the American River from the Oxbow Reservoir put-in and Ruck-A-Chucky take-out is temporarily closed, officials said.

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River access closed off due to Trailhead Fire

Access to the Middle Fork of the American River From Oxbow Reservoir put in to Ruck-A-Chucky take out was closed Friday to protect firefighter and public safety, due to the continued growth of the Trailhead Fire.

The fire near Foresthill, in Placer and El Dorado counties, was up to 2,151 acres with 12 percent containment being reported Friday.

As of 7 a.m. Friday, no structures had been damaged or destroyed; all evacuations were still in effect.

Nearly 2,000 firefighting personnel were battling the Trailhead Fire along the Middle Fork of the American River.

At 5:30 p.m., a spokesperson from CalFire said there had been a shift on the eastern side of the fire, with a run up Jakey’s Hill that was getting close to Volcanoville.

Several dozer lines had been constructed and it was hoped that early diurnal winds down the hillside would keep the fire from reaching the Volcanoville area.

Firefighters did use some firing on the southern side of the fire to try and burn out fuels, and have been holding the fire to the north at the Placer County Line.

Crews were able to complete and strengthen lines overnight to prevent fire spread up Peachstone Gulch, and contingency lines are in place to protect the community of Todd Valley.

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