facebook tracking pixel Waiting to go home: People can return to some areas near Rice’s Fire (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY) | TheUnion.com

Waiting to go home: People can return to some areas near Rice’s Fire (VIDEO/PHOTO GALLERY)

Rural North San Juan resident Mark Burton holds his cat Jak outside of the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City where he, his family, and many pets remained evacuated from the Rice’s Fire Thursday afternoon.
Photo: Elias Funez

Repopulation information

From Nevada County Sheriff’s Office:

Due to the aggressive work of CAL FIRE NEU and mutual aid partners on the #ricesfire, significant progress has been made that allows us to begin repopulation to the affected areas.

The Evacuation Orders for zones; NCO-E329 and NCO-E383 have been to an Evacuation Warning. There is still heavy first responder traffic in the area. There are still ongoing Evacuation Orders in portions of the area. Pleasant Valley Rd between Birchville Road and Bridgeport is open to with valid ID – this will be monitored by CHP – Grass Valley.

Zone NCO-E029 has been split for re-population purposes. Only a portion of zone NCO-E029 has been downgraded to an Evacuation Warning, the rest remains under Evacuation ORDER.

Residences along the following roads in zone NCO-E029 remain under EVACUATION ORDER: Rices Crossing, Troost Trail, Den Court, Mark Court, Cranston Road. There is still heavy first responder traffic in the area.

Check community.zonehaven.com for Rices Fire updates.

When entering the burned area, residents need to be on alert for hot spots, rolling debris and other hazards. .

As a reminder, there is still heavy first responder traffic in the area. Please travel though the area with caution.

Initially posted

Rural North San Juan’s Stephen Burton, his family, and their pets and animals remained evacuated Thursday afternoon at a temporary shelter set up at Nevada City’s Madelyn Helling Library.

Two vehicles filled with animal crates and a bird cage were parked in front of a trailer filled with their belongings as the family sat outside in the shade and waited for news about when they might be allowed to return home.

“We were told July 3,” Burton said optimistically.

While homes and property were saved during the Rice’s Fire, there was some vehicle loss, including this van along Troost Trail. Cal Fire has begun damage assessment and estimates that more than the one structure have burned.
Photo: Elias Funez

It was clear that the spirits of the Burton family couldn’t be broken easily. They’ve endured this before, having to evacuate their home during the 392-acre Pleasant Fire near Petersen’s Corner in 2017.

“Actually, we had the trailer ready,” Burton said.

While the Burton family awaited updates from the Sheriff’s Office regarding repopulation, they were fine with staying at the Madelyn Helling Library.

A utility crew unloads infrastructure to replace damaged high power transmission lines within the Rice’s Fire footprint Thursday afternoon along Troost Trail.
Photo: Elias Funez

“The facilities are here and they feed us,” Burton said.

“We don’t have any changes in our current evacuation zones or warning zones,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Capt. Sam Brown said.

So the family would wait a bit longer.

“It becomes a little difficult because we want to coordinate with our fire partners,” Brown explained. “But we also want to make sure that it is safe because we don’t want to have to re-evacuate people if things do start to get pretty serious.”

Sheriff’s officials declined to release further information from a 3 p.m. meeting until 7 p.m., well after The Union’s print deadline.


The Rice’s Fire remains at 904 acres with 12 percent containment as of early Thursday evening, though more containment percentage is expected to be announced through the evening.

The head of the Rice’s Fire passed through this area along Troost Trail two days ago, though hot spots inside the fire’s footprint continue to create challenges for firefighters.
Photo: Elias Funez

“We did see some moderation in the fire activity last night, which is a positive,” Cal Fire Nevada Yuba Placer Unit Deputy Chief Jim Hudson said Thursday afternoon:

“Good containment line on the eastern side of the fire, not many challenges there.

“The challenges continue to be the western side of the fire which aligns with the Yuba River drainage.

“Containment has started to increase. We do expect to see an increase in containment tonight. We might have a fire line utilizing the river line here in a few days. That is our goal, but controlled and contained are two different things.

“We will be working on this fire for the weeks to come to make sure that it is completely out and controlled and not just having a line around it.”

For updates on evacuation zones and the potential for re-population, visit http://www.theunion.com.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email efunez@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

Rural North San Juan’s Stephen Burton keeps his spirits up as he and his family remain evacuated Thursday afternoon at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, where a temporary evacuation center has been set up.
Photo: Elias Funez


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