Crews gain control of Grizzly Fire as dry, hot conditions continue in Nevada County |

Crews gain control of Grizzly Fire as dry, hot conditions continue in Nevada County

Dry conditions and high temperatures persist as a potential powder keg for wildfire, like the Grizzly Fire that threatened an area north of Nevada City Friday.

A vehicle that briefly drove off Grizzly Hill Road just before 5 p.m. Friday reportedly sparked a vegetation fire in a rural area just east of North Columbia.

By 9 p.m. the forward progress of the fire had been stopped at 10 acres with 15 percent containment, according to Cal Fire PIO Mary Eldridge. By Saturday morning the fire was held at 9.85 acres with 90 percent containment. Crews tended to mop-up work to ensure the blaze didn’t flare back up.

A heavy air and ground attack helped to keep the fire from spreading.

North San Juan volunteer firefighter Jared DePue was first to drive his bulldozer into the fire.

“There’s way too much out there that I care about,” DePue said.

DePue echoed reports of thick burning timber that he faced head on as he cut fire lines to stop the progress of the blaze.

Firefighters from the North San Juan Volunteer Fire Department, Ophir Hill, Rough and Ready, Grass Valley, Nevada County Consolidated, Penn Valley, Peardale-Chicago Park, Tahoe National Forest, four hand crews from the Washington Ridge Fire Camp, and multiple helicopters and air tankers responded.

Additional engines were called in to assist with evacuations, though there were no homes in the immediate area, and the nearest threatened structure was the North Columbia schoolhouse, the site of the 32nd Sierra Storytelling Festival over the weekend.

A Cal Fire strike team from Butte County was at the scene ready to mobilize, but was called off as the forward progress of the fire was stopped.

“What’s interesting about this was that the first reports were from the lookout towers,” Eldridge said. That information was cross-referenced with the Banner Mountain lookout which gave them the location of the fire.

“We’re fortunate for those air resources to help with the heavy timber,” Eldridge said.

Two bulldozers remained on the scene through the night into Saturday morning, Eldridge said.

A Red Flag Warning was issued by the National Weather Service in Reno over the weekend for higher elevations of the Sierra expires Monday.

A Reg Flag Warning is issued for weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours. A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours.

Temperatures are predicted to be in the low 90s in Grass Valley this week, dipping to a high of 88 degrees on Wednesday before climbing higher later in the week, according to the weather service.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email or call 530-477-4230.

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