Fighting area blazes has cost $28M so far
Senior Staff Writer
The three major fire complexes in Northern California that have fouled Nevada County’s air for two weeks have cost almost $28 million to suppress and the meter is still running.
The Yuba River Complex in Nevada and Sierra counties, which is almost out, cost $6.8 million to date, according to Ann Westling of the Tahoe National Forest.
“That’s for supression, feeding the firefighters, shower rentals, personnel costs, everything,” Westling said Monday.
The Nevada County Fairgrounds will receive around $68,000 from the U.S. Forest Service for housing the complex fire camp for 12 full and two half-days, said Ed Scofield, chief executive officer at the fairgrounds. The exact final figure will be negotiated.
“They loved it here,” at $5,250 per day, Scofield added.
The famous 49er Fire in 1988 was the last time the fairgrounds saw a major fire camp. With the World Fest, Fair and Draft Horse Classic coming up, “I don’t know if we could accommodate them again” this year, Scofield said.
Though the firefighters took up parking spots for 4th of July festivities, attendance numbers were still good for the day, he said.
The Fall Fire near Bowman Lake is the last of the Yuba complex blazes, and it should be fully contained in the next few days, Westling said. The fire camp has been moved to the Placer County fires, she said.
In Placer County, the American River Complex of fires due west of Dutch Flat and south of Interstate 80 continue to create havoc with firefighters, according to USFS spokeswoman Brenda Bowen.
The cost to date is $6.4 million for that complex and more is expected with only 20 percent containment, Bowen said.
The Canyon Complex burning in Plumas County has cost almost $14.8 million but is about 65 percent contained, according to Plumas National Forest officials.
Hazy conditions and high temperatures are expected all week in Nevada County due to a strong high-pressure system building over California. The weather system will contain the wildfire smoke and heat.
The National Weather Service Monday urged northern Sierra residents to limit outdoor activity during the week because of the conditions. High temperatures are expected near 100 through Wednesday, with temperatures in the 90s up to 5,000 feet.
Extremely warm overnight temperatures in the 80s also are expected tonight.
Night temperatures are expected to drop back into the 60s starting Wednesday night, but daytime temperatures are predicted to remain in the 90s Thursday through Sunday.
The high-pressure system will bring weather conducive to fire, and smoke from the Placer and Plumas County fires could move into Nevada County at any time.
Though the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District has not issued an air quality alert for the week, anytime residents see or smell smoke, they can conclude the air is unhealthy, according to Joe Fish at the district.
To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4237.
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