UPDATE: Government Fire nearing Blue Canyon | TheUnion.com

UPDATE: Government Fire nearing Blue Canyon

The Government Springs Fire in Placer County continued with no measurable containment Tuesday and has approached within six miles of Blue Canyon, fire information officer Marian Swinney said this morning.

Though Yuba River Complex fires have been largely contained, the Government Springs and other fires to the south of western Nevada County continue to create unhealthy air for the elderly, the very young and those with lung impairments, and such people should stay indoors, state air quality officials said this morning.

The Government Springs Fire, about 20 miles east and slightly south of Nevada City, is part of the American River Complex of fires. It had spread to about 2,998 acres overnight, United States Forest Service officials said today.

“It’s almost impossible to get crews down there,” Swinney said. “They’re hitting it with the C130s. It’s now become the No. 1 priority of the complex, now that the Peavine Fire (about 14 miles northeast of Forest Hill) is 90-percent contained.”

The C130s are former military transport planes retrofitted to drop fire retardant onto the flames, Swinney added. Firefighters have been unable to get into the steep canyons to battle the fire directly, so they are attacking it indirectly by setting backfires, she said.

“They built a line and fired in from the line to the fire. It takes all the fuel from the fire,” Swinney said.

“Today, crews will continue to work to hold the fire in Willmont Canyon and (keep it from) from crossing Sawtooth Ridge on the northwest flank,” officials said in a statement this morning. “Helicopters with bucket drops will also support the efforts on the ground.”

The Westville fire is about 50-percent contained and has burned about 663 acres. “It’s not as much of a threat to other communities,” Swinney added.

In the Yuba River Complex, firefighters made progress on the Scotchman Fire near Washington overnight and had the blaze 78-percent contained by 8 a.m. this morning, Tahoe National Forest officials said.

They continued to work on the Fall, Celina and the Scotchman fires.

“The Fall fire was active as the fire burned down to the South Yuba River and Canyon Creek, as anticipated,” forestry officials said this morning. “Existing fire containment lines are holding the fire as firefighters continue to reinforce and construct new control lines.”

Firefighters also continued to patrol or mop up at several other sites in the Yuba River Complex of fires, which had burned a total of 3,579 acres, officials said.

The Fall Fire, near the falls on Scotchman Creek, had burned 1,854 acres and was 67-percent contained. The Celina Fire, in the Wolf Creek drainage in Sierra County, had burned 397 acres and was 92-percent contained.


To contact City Editor Trina Kleist, e-mail tkleist@theunion.com or call 477-4230.

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