Officials: Spark from logging equipment started Dodge fire

David Ruhl was killed while fighting the Frog fire in the Modoc National Forest.
David Ruhl was killed while fighting the Frog fire in the Modoc National Forest. Black Hills National Forest

Investigators have determined that the 11,000-acre Dodge fire, burning 70 miles northeast of Susanville, was started by a spark from logging equipment.

A private contractor was harvesting trees with a feller-buncher on Monday when a spark from the spinning blade set fire to dry grass, said Jeff Fontana, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management in Susanville.

The fire spread quickly into tall sagebrush and juniper, important habitat for greater sage grouse, wild horses and burros.

Officials are continuing their investigation to determine whether there was negligence, said Nancy Haug, the agency’s district manager for Northern California.

The fire is threatening a few isolated ranch cabins but had not damaged any by late Wednesday, when Fontana said it was 20 percent contained.

David Ruhl memorial

A procession of fire engines honoring David Ruhl, a U.S. Forest Service firefighter who died Friday, will be held Thursday morning in Redding along Interstate 5 and Highway 44, ending at the Northern California Geographic Area Coordination Center.

Ruhl, a Black Hills National Forest firefighter, died of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation while responding to the Frog fire in the Modoc National Forest near Alturas.

U.S. Forest Service officials have also scheduled a memorial service for Ruhl on Sunday in Rapid City, S.D. It will be preceded by a procession concluding at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Ruhl’s funeral is scheduled at 10 a.m. Monday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City.

Wragg fire 100 percent contained

The Wragg fire, which started two weeks ago near Lake Berryessa, was reported 100 percent contained Wednesday afternoon, with 8,051 acres burned.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said crews were continuing mop-up activities.

The fire started the afternoon of July 22 off Highway 128 near Greaves Road, and burned in Napa and Solano counties. Two outbuildings were destroyed, and four outbuildings and one residence were damaged.

Bee staff writer Cathy Locke contributed to this report.