Category Archives: Fire

Trailhead fire in Sierra foothills grows to 2,151 acres

A wildland fire in the Sierra foothills grew to 2,151 acres Friday, forcing the evacuations of 1,650 people as it threatened scores of structures, officials said.

The Trailhead fire started Tuesday afternoon along the Middle Fork of the American River, in steep and hard-to-reach terrain near Todd Valley in El Dorado and Placer counties, roughly 130 miles northeast of San Francisco.

The fire was just 12 percent contained Friday morning and had spread from just 350 acres on Wednesday.

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Trailhead Fire burning west of Lake Tahoe grows to 1,264 acres

Nearly 2,000 firefighting personnel are battling the Trailhead Fire that continues to scorch hundreds of acres of land west of Lake Tahoe.

According to Califre, the blaze that’s burning in the community of Foresthill in Placer and El Dorado counties has grown to 1,264 acres as of 7 a.m. Thursday, and is now 12% contained.

It’s currently burning along the Middle Fork of the American River near Todd Valley. An estimated 2,600 structures were threatened by the blaze, and smoke from it began to filter over Donner Summit and into the Truckee area Wednesday afternoon.

Foresthill is roughly an hour and a half drive from Truckee; as the crow flies, it’s roughly an hour west of Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe region is not in any danger from the fire.

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Evacuations ordered in Todd Valley as fire rages in American River Canyon

The Trailhead Fire was at 300 acres as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, CalFire said. The blaze began at 2 p.m. off Drivers Flat near Todd Valley.

Fire retardant lines are keeping the Trailhead Fire boxed in, though with little containment of its 250 acres in El Dorado County and 50 acres in Placer County. Mandatory evacuations continue given the steep and inaccessible terrain to firefighters.

CalFire has entered into a unified command on the fire with Eldorado National Forest with assistance from Placer County Incident Management Team.

There were 250 personnel, 48 fire engines, five crews, six dozers and three watertenders among the resources responding according to CalFire, not including the air tankers and other craft that flew overhead.

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Forest Service Invests $5.1 million in South Fork American River Watershed

The Eldorado National Forest has received $5.1 million in special supplemental funding this year to support efforts to reduce the threat of wildfire and the risk of insect and disease in the South Fork American River Watershed (SOFAR). “The values to be protected in this watershed are critical to the local and regional economy and to ecosystem health,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. “Most importantly, this is where we have the largest number of people living near the forest, the most recreational use, and a recurring pattern of difficult to control wildfires.”

The 2016 supplemental funding will be used to accomplish work on five major multi-year, multi-phase projects.

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Authorities arrest alleged parkway arsonist

Brian Larue Sacramento Police Department
Brian Larue – Sacramento Police Department

A man suspected of starting several of this summer’s fires on the American River Parkway has been arrested, the Sacramento Fire Department said in a news release Friday.

Brian Larue, 31, was arrested by fire investigators working with Sacramento police officers and Sacramento County park rangers, it said. He’s suspected of setting several fires that burned on the morning of Aug. 27 south of the American River and a quarter-mile west of the Howe Avenue bridge

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Rangers enforce burning ban along American River Parkway

Sacramento County park rangers have started using a new enforcement tool to crack down on illegal camping, hoping to prevent grass fires along the American River Parkway.

Starting Thursday, rangers are confiscating barbeques, grills and propane tanks — any incendiary device generating an open flame.

The new ban on burning comes after the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisor Phil Serna, adopted an urgency ordinance on Tuesday, making it a misdemeanor to generate campfires on the American River Parkway.

The only exceptions are designated picnic areas at county parks. Sgt. A.J. Bennett found his first illegal campfire today within three minutes of beginning his patrol, with KCRA 3 riding along.

Five homeless campers received citations and lost their barbeque grill.

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Online petition drums up support for ending Sacramento’s camping ban

An online petition to halt an anti-camping ordinance that mostly affects Sacramento city homeless residents had gathered 77 signatures and counting by Sunday evening, four days after its release.

The campaign was launched by the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, which called for an immediate moratorium on the local law until a separate plan to build 1,500 rapid rehousing units for homeless people was completed.

That won’t happen right away. The rehousing units are one component of a downtown housing initiative the Sacramento City Council approved last month. The initiative calls for 10,000 new housing units to be built in the central downtown corridor over the next 10 years. Sixty percent of those would be sold or rented at market rate, 25 percent intended for working class residents and the remaining 15 percent to immediately house those without shelter.

The rabid rehousing strategy has been gaining steam in numerous cities, and employs a housing-first model that connects unsheltered individuals with whatever services they need once they are housed.

In a release announcing the petition drive, the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, or SRCEH, cited two shifts in national policy to make its case for suspending the city’s camping prohibition on non-recreational campers, a.k.a. people with nowhere else to go.

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No permit, no barbecuing along American River Parkway

Sacramento County supervisors have approved an ordinance that will make it a misdemeanor to start and use a fire in any regional park without a permit.

The goal of the new ordinance is to prevent fires sparked by barbecues from occurring in regional parks, including along the American River Parkway.

People will still be able to barbecue in designated picnic areas.

More than 50 wildfires have broken out in Sacramento County Regional Parks since May, most of them along the American River Parkway.

“Fires in the American River Parkway are an immediate threat to public safety,” said Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna. “The goal of this ordinance is to protect everyone who uses the Parkway, the neighborhoods surrounding it, and the public safety personnel who respond to the fires.”

The ordinance will go into effect immediately.

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Sacramento County takes aim at illegal camping, homelessness

The recent rash of brush fires raging across the American River Parkway triggered a strong response Thursday from the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

The county is spending about $700,000 to tackle the duel problems of illegal camping and homelessness along the parkway, long considered to be Sacramento’s urban jewel.

“To me, given the tinder-dry conditions on the parkway, the fuel loads out there — combined with the ignition sources or illegal camps — it’s a recipe for disaster,” said Phil Serna, chair of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors.

As KCRA 3 reported, the American River Parkway has been the site of 34 fires since Memorial Day — many of them very near homeless camps.

Serna championed the relief package today that includes $216,850 for three additional park rangers, along with $101,237 for additional patrol resources at the Mather Regional Park/Dry Creek Parkway Patrol. The county will also spend $121,412 for Mather Regional Park Preserve Fencing and $55,000 for a homeless navigator.

“The navigator is the front-line person that brings them in to our system and ultimately into that housing,” said Ryan Loofbourrow, executive director for Sacramento Steps Forward.

The new funding also includes $160,000 for winter sanctuary housing for the homeless — money to help religious organizations find shelter for those in need. But the long-term goal is permanent housing.

“It does in fact keep people off the street and help them start to rebuild their lives,” said Maya Wallace, external affairs director for Sacramento Steps Forward.

On any given night there are between 200 and 300 people illegally camping on the American River Parkway, officials said.

One of them is Angel Tejeda, who is four-months pregnant.

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34 fires on American River Parkway since late May

Thirty-four fires have burned along the American River Parkway in Sacramento County since Memorial Day weekend during a severe statewide drought.

The drought typically prompts public officials to tell California residents to be fire-safe, but many people whose homes are near the parkway say officials should be doing much more to alleviate fire danger here.

“We need to do something differently,” said J.T. Marcell, who lives near downtown Sacramento. “We need to work smarter, not harder.”

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