Evacuations lifted: Residents return home as firefighters battle Pleasant Fire in North San Juan | TheUnion.com

Evacuations lifted: Residents return home as firefighters battle Pleasant Fire in North San Juan

A Sacramento Metro helicopter drops water on the Pleasant Fire near North San Juan Thursday afternoon, when the fire was burning at 280 acres and was 40 percent contained.
John Hart photo for The Union |

UPDATE: Pleasant Fire has spread to 392 acres; 40 percent contained.

For live coverage on the Pleasant Fire go here.

Nearly a dozen San Juan Ridge residents took refuge at Grass Valley’s First Baptist Church Wednesday night while the Pleasant Fire continued to burn, resulting in evacuations throughout areas surrounding the blaze.

But just a day later, thanks to firefighting efforts, all evacuations and road closures had been lifted, Cal Fire announced late Thursday.

According to the Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, 200 structures were under threat Wednesday and the Sheriff’s Office was going door-to-door to ensure all residents were evacuating as the fire — which started in the 26000 block of Highway 49, one mile south of North San Juan near Peterson’s Corner — continued to spread into Wednesday evening.

Evacuation orders were lifted in many areas around 10 p.m. Wednesday night, but remained in effect for homes west of Highway 49 between Tyler Foote Crossing and Oak Tree roads as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Emergency Services office.

Mary Eldridge, public information officer for Cal Fire’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer unit, said the fire was burning at 280 acres and was 40 percent contained Thursday afternoon. At that time, one home had been damaged and one destroyed, she said. Peterson’s Corner, a family restaurant near the fire’s origin, remained untouched.

The church — which was designated as the official evacuation center — remained open Thursday, staffed by American Red Cross Volunteers.

Judy Arbuckle, a volunteer at the evacuation center, said Thursday the facility would likely remain open throughout the night. A handful of ridge residents remained at the center Thursday, she said.

“Sometimes people are so emotionally exhausted from the trauma and the experience that they just need a place where they can rest and be away from it,” she said. The evacuation center provides beds, food and water. The church is located at 1866 Ridge Road, Grass Valley. An emergency animal shelter is available at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for livestock and pets.

“Fire is burning in heavy brush and timber. Fire continues to threaten structures and infrastructure around the community of North San Juan and the Middle Fork of the Yuba River. Firefighters continue to protect structures and strengthen line,” Cal Fire said in a release Thursday.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire, which was reported around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Seven fire crews are fighting the blaze, Cal Fire said Thursday.

Local “joint operational area” fire agencies have deployed strike teams to fight fires around the state, including the Ponderosa Fire in Butte County, the Slinkard Fire in Mono County, the Orleans Complex in Siskiyou County, and the Eclipse Incident near Happy Camp, Grass Valley Fire Chief Mark Buttron said in a release Thursday.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.

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