Butte Fire destroys more than 400 buildings; Tahoe air quality increases | SierraSun.com

Butte Fire destroys more than 400 buildings; Tahoe air quality increases

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The Butte Fire has destroyed more than 400 structures as it continues to burn a couple hours southwest of Lake Tahoe, although it appears crews are getting a good handle on the blaze.

According to a Wednesday morning update from Calfire, the blaze in Amador and Calaveras counties, near the town of Jackson, Calif., remains at nearly 72,000 acres, and is up to 45 percent containment.

In total, the fire that began Sept. 9 has destroyed 233 homes and 175 outbuildings, and another 15 structures have been damaged.

"Fire behavior remained minimal throughout the night, helping crews continue to progress with perimeter control," according to Calfire. "The evacuations in Amador County have been reduced to an advisory, allowing residents to return to their homes."

Still, as of Wednesday morning, 6,400 structures remain threatened. More than 4,800 personnel are fighting the fire, including 519 engines, 92 hand crews, 60 water tankers, 10 helicopters and eight air tankers.

At Lake Tahoe, air quality levels have returned to normal after the greater Truckee-Tahoe-Reno region was choked with smoke throughout the weekend and into Monday.

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In Tahoe City, air quality as of Wednesday was listed at 9.0 μg/m³— which is in the "good" ranges, meaning residents can enjoy outdoor activities.

Meanwhile, the Valley Fire burning in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties west of the Tahoe region has burned 70,000 acres and is at 30 percent containment as of Wednesday, according to Calfire.

That fire exploded quickly in size over the weekend, and is responsible for one civilian four firefighter injuries.

Since starting Saturday, it's destroyed 585 homes, "and hundreds of other structures are know to be destroyed as well," according to the state.

The Sierra Sun will continue to monitor weather pattern shifts and will report if or when smoke is expected to return to the region.

FOLLOW THE FIRES

Click here to read Calfire’s updates on the Butte Fire.

Click here to read Calfire’s updates on the Valley Fire.