Unattended burn pile sparks brush fire | TheUnion.com

Unattended burn pile sparks brush fire

An unattended burn pile is the cause of a quarter-acre brush fire Tuesday afternoon near La Barr Meadows Road and McKnight Way.

Nevada County Consolidated Fire District Battalion Chief David Ray said a property owner burning six piles of debris in a field off of La Barr Meadows Drive left the piles unattended while he grabbed some lunch.

“One of the burn piles crept out,” he said. “It’s a previously logged area where there’s a lot of ground litter that can fuel the fire.”

A Grass valley woman who was doing errands in the K-Mart shopping center saw smoke in the air and decided to investigate in her Ford F350 truck.

“I followed the smoke off of La Barr Meadows and saw the flames,” said Joan E. Saksa. “I didn’t see anyone around and the (fire) was getting wider. I decided to call 911.”

Grass Valley Fire Department Chief Jim Marquis said one engine from the Grass Valley Fire Department arrived, one engine from Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, plus another engine from the California Department of Forestry contained the fire.

Ray said the property owner will be cited for burning an unattended pile without proper clearance.

“As of May Ist you have to be in attendance,” Ray said, “and it didn’t look like he had enough clearance.”

Burn piles must have 10 feet of clearance, Ray said, while it appeared none of the piles had adequate clearance around them.

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