Fire weather produces foothill blaze, extreme danger
Dry north winds caused a grass fire to run over 100 acres near the Nevada County line Thursday, and a fire weather watch is in effect through Saturday.
The winds caused the National Weather Service in Sacramento to issue a Red Flag Warning for fire along the western slope of the northern Sierra, including the Tahoe National Forest and the foothills beneath it.
The blaze of unknown origin broke out about 1:30 p.m. just off Highway 20 in Yuba County, near Smartville and the intersection of Peoria and Scott Forbes roads. JoAnn Cartoscelli of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said three air tankers and a bulldozer quickly built a defensive ring around the fire, halting its spread.
“It went pretty fast,” Cartoscelli said. “People in Penn Valley complained about smoke,” but the blaze was controlled by 3:30 p.m.
No one was injured in the fire and no structures were threatened, Cartoscelli said. Two helicopters, three hand crews and seven engines from CDF, the Smartville and Loma Rica – Browns Valley fire departments converged on the flaming grass.
“The cool air isn’t coming in from the ocean, causing extreme fire danger,” said Harry Stockman of the Qwikcast.com weather service.
“The air is coming downslope from the north,” Stockman said. “It can create a very intense fire situation.” Similar weather caused the devastating Oakland Fire in 1991, Stockman said.
The National Weather Service said the conditions are also causing low humidity. That combined with winds drying already parched grass is creating the extreme fire danger, Cartoscelli said.
Winds of 15 to 30 mph with gusts up to 35 are expected today. Those winds are expected to start diminishing Saturday, but low humidity is forecast through the weekend.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User