Winds whip up 2 fires |

Winds whip up 2 fires

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ALL | GrassValleyArchive

High winds and smoldering burn piles weren’t a good combination Monday in Nevada County.

Fire fighters spent all day battling fire on two fronts:

Lots of separate, spread-out fires had consumed between 300 and 400 acres of high country Sierra Pacific Industries land between the town of Graniteville and Bowman reservoir.

“There could be quite a few more acres burned. There are no structures threatened. And most all of it is on private land,” said TNF spokeswoman Ann Westling.

The fires were sparked when high winds hit piles of logging debris – “smoldering slash piles SPI lit last week or the week before,” said Mike Ledford, a U.S. Forest Service emergency dispatcher.

“The wind is so strong; it’s blowing tops out of trees,” Ledford said.

Westling said some firefighters were nearly struck by wind-blown treetops.

“There was a near miss. A couple of firefighters could have been badly hurt, but weren’t,” she said.

SPI officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, five fire engines and 44 fire fighters fought an eight-acre blaze near Newtown Road and Highway 49, which consumed two sheds, a travel trailer and a dilapidated barn.

Its suspected cause was winds hitting a burn pile, said Tina Rose, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The fire was expected to by completely contained by 8 p.m., she said.

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