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WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Rices Fire 93% contained

Grass Valley Type 2 air tanker 88 sits ready to respond to incidents such as the Rice’s Fire Friday at the Nevada County Airport, where the Grass Valley Interagency Air Attack Base is located. Some 81,477 gallons of retardant have been dropped on the Rice’s Fire from the base since the fire’s start, with tanker 88 pilot Abbie Crews making the first drop on the fire Tuesday, just after 2 p.m.
Photo: Elias Funez

Update 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 6:

The Rices Fire is 93% contained as of Wednesday morning, with full containment expected by July 7, according to an incident report released by Cal Fire.

Thirteen structures have been destroyed, five single residences and eight minor structures, the release states. One more minor structure was reportedly damaged.

Fifteen firefighters were injured fighting this fire, along with one civilian, the release states.

The cause of the Rices Fire is listed as an “uninhabitable structure fire spread to vegetation,” in the incident report, however, the cause of the structure fire remains under investigation.

UPDATE at 8:02 a.m. Tuesday, July 5

The fire on Tuesday morning remained at 904 acres. It was 85% contained.

UPDATE at 10:57 a.m. Monday, July 4

From Nevada County Sheriff’s Office:

As of 7 a.m. Monday, all evacuation orders and warnings for Nevada County, due to the Rices Fire, have been lifted.

Residents returning to the area that find damage to their residence are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL211 to be connected with a Disaster Recovery Specialist.

The fire as of Monday morning was 904 acres and 65% contained.

UPDATE at 9:54 a.m. Sunday, July 3

The fire is at 904 acres and 45% contained Sunday morning.

UPDATE at 9:28 a.m. Saturday, July 2

The Rice’s Fire is at 904 acres and 26% contained.

One civilian and 14 firefighters have been injured.

Thirteen structures have been destroyed, one damaged and 10 are threatened.

Initially posted

Containment on the Rice’s Fire bumped up to 22% on Friday as fire crews continued to make good gains on the blaze that charred a 904-acre swath of land between the South Yuba River State Park at Bridgeport and North San Juan.

Nevada County sheriff’s officials are expecting more downgrading of some existing evacuation zones that are currently under a warning.

“We are working with the fire incident command team to solidify plans prior to distribution,” sheriff’s Public Information Officer Andrew Trygg said in a news release. “All zones under the current evacuation order will remain in place.”

There are still dozens of fire strike teams working and driving through the area and the general public is encouraged to stay out if they don’t live there.

Many of the fire’s access roads are one lane and additional traffic could impede progress.

Firefighter injuries on the Rice’s Fire rose to 13 on Friday and 250 structures remained threatened.

“Additionally, there are still several hot spots and areas of dangerous conditions,” Trygg said.

Road closures on Pleasant Valley Road, between Bridgeport and Birchville Road, will remain in place until further notice, though law enforcement will allow locals with ID to pass through.

According to California State Parks, Bridgeport at the South Yuba River State Park will remain closed until further notice.

For the most up-to-date visual aid regarding evacuation changes, visit community.zonehaven.com.


Current totals of orange phos-chek fire retardant dropped on the Rice’s Fire amounts to 317,173 gallons.

While 235,696 gallons were dropped by large air tankers from McClellan Base in Sacramento, 81,477 gallons were dropped from the Grass Valley Interagency Air Attack Base between three Type 2 air tankers.


Area fire crews and first responders were kept busy with a handful of other new starts Friday, including two vehicle fires along Interstate 80 with threat to vegetation and a small vegetation fire that started in the landscaping of the new Brunswick Commons apartments.

Grass Valley and Cal Fire firefighters work the scene of a small vegetation fire that occurred in a section of new landscaping at the new Brunswick Commons apartment complex under construction off Old Tunnel Road.
Photo: Elias Funez

Residents have yet to move into the nearly completed structure.

The cause of the fire wasn’t determined immediately.

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


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