Growing Robbers fire in Placer County 30% contained

Published: Monday, Jul. 16, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 5B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2012 - 1:21 pm

The Robbers fire grew about 100 acres overnight and remains at 30 percent contained, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported.

More than 2,100 firefighters from San Diego to Siskiyou County continue to battle 2,500-acre blaze, which is burning in areas that are remote, steep and overgrown with heavy brush and timber.

The fire has consumed one home and four outbuildings in Placer County.

"We have been making progress," Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said. "We have a lot of people and a lot of equipment to really make a stand - even though weather conditions are starting to change. We are starting to see the possibilities of increased winds."

Berlant said firefighters are working hard to overtake the blaze "because there is so much potential for this fire to grow."

A breeze is blowing this morning and Berlant said there is a chance that over the next few days the winds could shift.

"We could get a strong wind out of the north," he said.

On Sunday the fire threatened a small community known as Brush Creek, with a few dozen homes, Berlant said.

"Last night the fire laid down, but as the temperatures hit their peak in the afternoon, that's when we see the fire pick up," said Berlant. "That's been the pattern."

The Robbers fire is named after a turnout in the road overlooking the north fork of the American River. The site is known to local history buffs as Robbers' Roost because it became a lookout for stagecoach robberies in Gold Rush days.

The fire, about three miles northwest of Foresthill, is burning in the Yankee Jims area, which includes Brush Creek Canyon. Homes within the Yankee Jims Canyon and Shirttail Canyon areas and in parts of Iowa Hill remained under evacuation orders, along with Spring Garden Road west of Foresthill.

A Red Cross evacuation center remains open in the Foresthill High School gym.

The blaze started at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. The cause is under investigation.

About 1,700 firefighters were called to fight that blaze, which began July 7. The cause is under investigation.

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