Wildfire quickly doused
Area firefighters attacked and quickly controlled a wildfire near a Penn Valley school Thursday, preventing the blaze from getting away amid dry conditions, local and state fire officials said.
The Spenceville Fire burned about 2 acres of oak woodlands adjacent to Ready Springs Elementary School and businesses near the busy corner of Spenceville Road and Penn Valley Drive.
An eyewitness said the blaze that broke out about 1:45 p.m. was partially put out by area neighbors and school personnel using shovels and fire extinguishers.
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An air tanker hit the blaze quickly and slowed it from spreading into parched brush as ground crews were arriving, the witness said.
“The air tanker was returning from another fire, and he put retardant on each side of the fire, making our job easier,” said Battalion Chief Don Wagner of the Penn Valley Fire Protection District. The fire was only “a couple of hundred yards” from the school, he said.
The blaze broke out along a walkway between the school and Penn Valley Drive behind a number of businesses. Calfire is investigating the cause, Wagner said.
No one was injured, and damage was held to a power pole and some Comcast equipment, Wagner said.
Ready Springs Elementary School secretary Avon Steen said people were initially asked to evacuate the building, which was on a minimum-day schedule, with children let out at noon.
The only children on-site were those in the after-school program; parents also were on campus for parent-teacher conferences.
Steen credited firefighters’ quick response in quelling the incident and keeping people safe.
Six engines, two air tankers, one helicopter and hand crews from Calfire responded to the scene along with firefighters from Penn Valley and Rough and Ready fire departments.
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