Fire crews battle Butte, Truckee blazes | SierraSun.com

Fire crews battle Butte, Truckee blazes

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun

Fifteen fire engines and three strike teams from area fire districts returned home Monday evening after battling two wildland blazes in other parts of California last week as the state fire season hits full stride.

The North Tahoe Fire Protection District dispatched two engines Wednesday to the Humboldt fire in Butte County that scorched 23,344 acres and destroyed an estimated 74 residences, officials said Monday.

Additional crews from the Truckee Fire Protection District and Squaw Valley Fire Department were sent to help control the blaze, which required a total of 104 engines and 1,044 fire personnel to contain, according to a report from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“We’ve had very active winds, low humidity and high heat. As you know, that’s a recipe for disaster,” said a Calfire spokesman.

Although the Meeks Bay Fire Protection District offered to contribute a water tender to the 51 already deployed, the equipment has not yet been needed, said Ed Miller, board member for the district.

The Humboldt fire, which scorched brushland around Paradise ” a small town near Chico ” was expected to be contained Monday with local fire crews returning Monday evening, said North Tahoe Fire Chief Duane Whitelaw.

The wildfires began last Tuesday and have cost an estimated $11.5 million so far to fight. The cause is still under investigation, according to the Calfire report.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in Butte County to free up additional firefighting resources. He declared another one in Santa Cruz County early Thursday.

‘We are mobilizing and coordinating all of the resources necessary to fight these fires,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Fire resources were requested through mutual aid and requests for additional crews usually come “as a result of a structure being threatened,” Whitelaw said.

CalFire expected full containment of the Humboldt fire by Monday evening.