Close to containment: River Fire has remained at 2,619 acres for days

Authorities continue to target Friday as when they’ll have completely contained the River Fire.

According to Cal Fire’s website, the fire burned 2,400 acres within the first 32 hours. The total acreage now burned — 2,619 — has remained unchanged since Sunday night.

Eighty-eight structures were destroyed, and 20 structures were damaged.

Mary Eldridge, public information officer with Cal Fire’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit, said three people hurt over the course of the fire were treated and released for minor injuries.

With 90% containment as of Thursday morning, the Nevada City/Grass Valley Fire Department is back to serving its jurisdiction, said Division Chief Sam Goodspeed. Goodspeed said what is left of the work on scene — including hazard tree removal and interior hot spot checks — is organized by Cal Fire.

“All of our personnel have been released and returned to our stations,” Goodspeed said. “Once we’re released from the incident, we are basically no longer involved. The resources Cal Fire has on scene are under contract by them.”

Goodspeed said even though there are other fire districts like Nevada County Consolidated that are responsible for protecting designated areas, the state has a legal obligation to protect SRAs — State Responsibility Area land — when there’s a major wildfire.

Goodspeed said nearby fire departments get called in as “initial attack resources” when it’s nearby.

“That’s how we got involved with that fire,” Goodspeed said.


According to its website, Cal Fire employed 48 engines, seven dozers, 14 water tenders, and 454 people on 13 crews.

Goodspeed said although the fire is no longer growing, the incident will not be “terminated” until a lot of suppression and repair work is completed.

All evacuation orders have been lifted in Nevada and Placer counties and, according to Cal Fire’s report, crews are working to remove hazardous trees near roads and structures so residents can safely repopulate the area.

Firefighters continue to strengthen containment lines around homes and address hot spots deeper in the fire’s interior.

“Damage inspection teams continue working in conjunction with the Nevada County and Placer County building departments and environmental health department,” the Cal Fire report said.

The report requested people be vigilant in their awareness of fire crews and utility resources on the roadways.

Available units have since been called to a handful of other small fires under a half-acre.

Forward progress on a fire that started close to Robbers Ravine in Colfax was stopped within two hours Wednesday afternoon.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union and the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at


As of Wednesday morning

Acres Burned: 2,619

Containment: 90%

Expected full containment: Friday

Residential structures destroyed: 102

Commercial structures destroyed: 1

Other structures destroyed: 39

Structures damaged: 21

Structures threatened: 578

Source: Cal Fire

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