Humidity levels down, fire danger extremely high |

Humidity levels down, fire danger extremely high

With humidity levels way down and continuously hot weather as of late, fire officials are warning people to be extremely careful.

“It’s been so hot and dry,” Truckee Fire Protection District Chief Mike Terwilliger said. “The humidity is down. Right now, anything hot will light a fire. People should be very careful.

Local firefighter from various agencies have been especially busy in the past week. Besides two small spot vegetation fires behind a home in Tahoe Donner, units responded to a structure fire at a Donner Lake home.

A fire that was started from discarded ashes on the deck of a Moraine Road home, spread to the walls and the attic and then to the wildland brush in the backyard, heading up towards Interstate 80. Terwilliger estimated the home to suffer $80,000 in damage.

Engines from Truckee Fire, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Donner Summit Fire Department and Squaw Valley Fire Department responded and firefighters extinguished the fire in an hour.

While that fire was burning, TFPD was called to a fire in a Jibboom Street home, where a couch was on fire. That fire was easily contained.

Two wildland spot fires burned side by side next to eastbound I-80 at Hirschdale on Sunday. The fires were both 30 by 30 feet each, and CDF had that fire easily contained as well, Terwilliger said.

Local fire units were also called to help fight the Red Rocks fire, which burned north of Reno on Sunday night.

Two CDF engines from Truckee’s Martis Valley station left to fight a wildland fire near Susanville on July 18, which burned approximately 1,200 acres of timber near Goat Mountain. Some homes were threatened, but none damaged, said CDF Battalion Chief Bryce Keller.

From the Goat Mountain Fire, the CDF engines were called to another wildland fire in the Klamath National Forest off of Highway 96. A 1,680-acre timber fire burned there, threatening but not damaging homes.

Both fires were fully contained, and CDF crews were expected to return to Truckee yesterday afternoon.

While local CDF forces were on assignment in Northern California, the Martis Valley station was covered with personnel and resources from CDF’s west side station.

Keller said the vegetation types at both fires is very similar to vegetation around the Truckee area, and it is a reminder that fire danger is extremely high locally.

“The fact that we are having large timber fires at this point in fire season is a good heads up that we need to continue our defensible space,” Keller said. “We need to be very fire safe when in and around our forests and practice defensible space when in and around our homes.”

He added, “Truckee has a long history of large, damaging fires. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”

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