Overcoming the Wall Fire: Grass Valley firefighters assist in the fight | TheUnion.com

Overcoming the Wall Fire: Grass Valley firefighters assist in the fight

The large plumes of smoke have cleared above Butte County's Wall Fire, some evacuation orders have been lifted, and the 5,800 acre fire is 60 percent contained.

But many evacuation orders remain in effect at some of the harder hit areas, and Cal Fire officials want to be clear that we're not out of the woods yet.

"Just because it's not burning actively doesn't mean the fire is in a contained phase," Cal Fire Public Information Officer Roy Skinner said Tuesday afternoon from the fire lines.

More than 1,600 firefighters at the Wall Fire have welcomed calmer winds and lower temperatures the past couple days.

"Now that the winds have died down, the fire has died down," Skinner said. "Our fire intensity has dropped significantly. Currently we don't have a lot of active portions of the fire given the current weather conditions, however, weather conditions could change."

Included in those fighting the fire is the crew of Grass Valley's California Office of Emergency Services Engine 334, sent early Sunday morning.

Recommended Stories For You

The crew of four had briefly come back to Grass Valley from fighting fires in Nevada before being called to the Wall Fire.

The fire lines were still hot when the crew arrived and their main priority was to provide structure protection.

"We cooled off the fire's edge for 2,600 feet, all the way down to the creek bed and up a steep hill," Grass Valley Fire Engineer Roque Barrera said.

The steep terrain was not an issue for the local crew.

"This strike team is equipped to handle familiar terrain and topography," Grass Valley firefighter Anthony Scarafiotti said.

Both Scarafiotti and Barrera missed their wedding anniversaries to fight the Wall Fire, while Grass Valley Firefighter Mike McClain celebrated his 29th birthday alongside his fellow firefighters.

Keeping loved ones calm and informed of their situation can be quite a challenge as well, as the crew has no cell phone service in the areas of Butte County they have been working.

"They see the stuff on the news with the big flare ups and get worried," Scarafiotti said. "It makes a difference with the crew you're with. We all have confidence in each other."

After taking Monday off, the local crew was back again Tuesday, this time checking on smokes and putting out hot spots.

"We'll mop up until dark and then the engines will patrol the area and make sure there are no flare ups with the wind activity," Grass Valley Fire Captain Robert Bundy said. "Then it's fire watch until morning."

The Grass Valley unit will then take today off while the Wall Fire situation is assessed and will either be kept on, re- assigned, or sent home.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez email, efunez@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

Wall Fire Incident Information:

Last Updated: July 12, 2017 8:15 am

Date/Time Started: July 07, 2017 2:52 pm

Administrative Unit:CAL FIRE Butte County Fire

County: Butte County

Location: Chinese Wall Rd, north of Bangor

Acres Burned: 5,800 acres

Containment: 60% contained

Structures Threatened: 606

Structures Destroyed: 41 residences destroyed and 3 damaged; 57 other strucutres damaged or destroyed.

Evacuation orders: All roads/areas south of Forbestown Rd. from the intersection of Highway 162 to Hurleton Swedes Flat Rd. • All roads/areas accessed from Old Olive Hwy. at Hwy. 162 • All roads/areas accessed from Lost Horizon Dr. at Hwy 162 • All roads/areas accessed from Mt. Ida Rd. past Dadoma Ln. • All roads/areas on Canal Dr. accessed from Feathervale Drive • All roads/areas accessed from Hurleton Swedes Flat Rd. to Swedes Flat Rd. • All roads/areas east of Miners Ranch Rd. from Hwy. 162 to Oro Bangor Hwy. (except for the warning areas of areas accessed off Mt. Ida Rd., see Evacuation Warnings below). • All roads/areas east of Oro Bangor Hwy. from Miners Ranch Rd. to Avocado Rd. • All roads/areas west of Oro Bangor Hwy. from Swedes Flat Rd. to Avocado Rd. • All areas accessed from Swedes Flat Rd. at from Stoney Oaks Loop to Old Bangor Hwy. • All areas accessed from Hurleton Swedes Flat Rd. from Swedes Flat Rd.

Evacuation Warnings • The Greater Stoney Oaks Loop community accessed from Robinson Mill Road at Swedes Flat Road. • All areas/road accessed by Mt. Ida between Miners Ranch Rd. and Dadoma Ln. • All areas/roads accessed by Feathervale Dr. from Mt. Ida Rd. (except Canal Dr.)

Evacuation Center: Church of the Nazarene
2238 Monte Vista Avenue, Oroville, CA

Animal Shelters

  • Small Animal Shelter: Del Oro Ave. “Old County Hospital”, Oroville, CA
  • Large Animal Shelter: Camelot on Clark Road in Butte Valley, CA
  • Animal Rescue Helpline: (530) 895-0000

Road Closures: • Hurleton Swedes Flat Rd. is closed at Forbestown Rd. • Swedes Flat Rd. is closed at Robinson Mill Rd. • Hurleton Swedes Flat Rd. is closed at Swedes Flat Rd. • Swedes Flat Rd. is closed at Stoney Oaks Blvd. • Lefevre Ln. is closed at Upham Rd. • Upham Rd. is closed at La Porte Rd. • Avocado Rd. is closed at Oro Bangor Hwy. • Oro Bangor Hwy. is closed at Miners Ranch Rd. • Caroline Dr. is closed at Miners Ranch Rd. • Mt. Ida Rd. is closed at Miners Ranch Rd. (open to residents with ID) • Mt. Ida Rd. is closed at Dadoma Ln. • Canal Dr. is closed at Feathervale Dr. • Old Olive Hwy. is closed at Forbestown Rd. • 500 Forbestown Rd is closed • Little Oak Rd. is closed at Forbestown Rd. • Forbestown Circle is closed at Hwy. 162 (both intersections) • Hideaway is closed at Forbestown Rd. • Old Olive Hwy. is closed at Hwy. 162 • Lost Horizon Dr. is closed at Hwy. 162

Injuries: 4

Cause: Under Investigation

Cooperating Agencies: California Highway Patrol – Chico, Butte County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California State Parks, Cal OES, California Conservation Corps, Cal OES – Law, North Valley Animal Disaster Group, Butte County EOC, American Red Cross, Butte County Animal Control, Pacific Gas and Electric, Oroville Police Department, Oroville Fire Department, California Department of Transportation – Oroville, Salvation Army, California Department of Water Resources.

Total Fire Personnel: 1,681

Total Fire Engines: 163

Total Fire Crews: 40

Total Airtankers: Yes

Total Helicopters: Yes

Total Dozers: 11

Total Water Tenders: 21

Conditions: Firefighters continue to hold and improve fire lines and mop up hot spots. Evacuation orders and warnings are still in effect, and being reevaluated frequently. Damage inspection has been completed.

Go back to article