Fire, power outage in North San Juan |

Fire, power outage in North San Juan

A fire in North San Juan apparently started by a bulldozing accident burned approximately 2 acres before being 100% contained by 1 p.m. Monday, according to Cal Fire.

A power outage affecting PG&E customers was also reported in the same area, according to a PG&E spokesperson, who said that 91 customers had lost power as a result of the incident. By 1:30 p.m., power had been restored to all but two PG&E customers, the spokesperson said. All customers should have received power by 9 p.m. Monday.

Both the fire and the power outage were likely caused by damage to a PG&E power line that occurred as a result of a bulldozing accident, according to Cal Fire incident commander Matt Wallen. An electric wire was broken and a power pole itself was damaged when a bulldozer working on private property on Pleasant Valley Road accidentally pushed a tree into the power pole, Wallen said. The resulting power failure is then believed to have ignited the fire.

No structures were threatened by the blaze and no one was injured, Cal Fire said. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office said no evacuations were ordered in North San Juan.

The fire apparently started off Pleasant Valley Road, in the area of Birchville and Sweetland roads, around 10:30 a.m. Monday, according to Cal Fire spokesperson Mary Eldridge. Just an hour later, by 11:30 a.m., the fire’s forward progress had been stopped after burning around 2 acres, and by 12:40 p.m. the fire was fully contained, Eldridge said.

Cal Fire personnel with the department’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit responded to the blaze, Eldridge said.

The power outage occurred around 10:30 a.m. as well, reportedly in the area near Vicki Drive and Pleasant Valley Road, according to PG&E spokesperson Megan McFarland.

Both PG&E and Cal Fire said that they have investigators working in the area of the fire/power outage to officially determine the cause of the incident, although Wallen said that the evidence gathered so far seems to indicate that both incidents were caused by the damage inflicted on the power lines by the bulldozer.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, McFarland said that PG&E was still in the process of repairing the damage to the power pole, with a four-person crew working at the scene of the accident.

Stephen Wyer is a staff writer for The Union. He can be reached at

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