Full containment of two of three area major fires expected by week's end

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 - 8:24 pm

Fire officials anticipate full containment within the week of two of three major fires burning in the Sierra and foothill areas, while the largest, the American fire, likely will burn through the end of the month.

The Swedes fire, which began Friday afternoon southeast of Oroville in Butte County, was reported 90 percent contained with 2,482 acres burned as of late this afternoon. Full containment is expected Thursday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

A home, a garage, three outbuildings and multiple cars were destroyed by the fire. All evacuations were lifted Sunday. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A complex of lightning-sparked fires that began Saturday in the Plumas National Forest were reported 40 percent contained this evening with 181 acres burned. One hundred residences and 125 outbuildings are threatened near the town of Taylorsville, and mandatory evacuations are in effect for areas south of Arlington Road, between Nelson Street and Johnson Ranch Road.

The U.S. Forest Service, however, expects full containment by Saturday.

The American Fire, burning since Aug. 10 in Placer County, northeast of Foresthill, was reported 62 percent contained at 15,715 acres this evening. Full containment is projected Sept. 1.

Peter Frenzen, spokesman for the interagency team managing the firefighting operations, said good progress was made today as crews were able to secure the north perimeter. But fire crews have yet to build about 14.5 miles of fire line on the east side, in an area of steep canyons, he said. A total of 1,822 people currently are involved in the firefighting effort.

To date, three outbuildings have been destroyed. Frenzen said a voluntary evacuation is in effect for Big Oak Flat, a small community of about six homes.

With the forecast for thunderstorms Wednesday that could produce lightning and erratic winds, fire crews will on the alert for flash flooding and mudslides, as well as the potential lightning-sparked fires in the area, Frenzen said.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag fire warning for Wednesday for the foothills and the Sierra, including Placer, Butte, Plumas and El Dorado counties.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Cathy Locke



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