Plumas County fire clouds Truckee-Tahoe skies | SierraSun.com

Plumas County fire clouds Truckee-Tahoe skies

Dave Moller
Sun News Service

A 14,700-acre wildfire burning north of Truckee in Plumas County is clouding Truckee skies with smoke, and spurring evacuations near Susanville.

The wildfire, which was touched off by lightning on Thursday, is only 10 percent contained and producing a huge plume of smoke, according to Terri Simon-Jackson of the Plumas National Forest. The blaze reached the south shore of popular Antelope Lake Saturday, causing the evacuation of an unknown number of campers and neighboring homes.

An evacuation plan is being prepared for the Lassen County towns of Janesville and Milford along Highway 395 seven miles to the east of the fire, Simon-Jackson said at noon. The evacuation could be triggered if expected dry lightning strikes create more fire in the area this afternoon.

The blaze is about 70 miles air miles northeast of Grass Valley, midway between Portola in Plumas County and Susanville in Lassen County. Numerous lightning strikes sparked a number of fires Thursday, which merged into the Antelope Complex.

There are no fire-retardant bombers assigned to the blaze because they are in use on other fires in the western U.S., Simon-Jackson said. Two water-drop helicopters are at the scene, but can only fly sporadically because of the large amount of smoke in the area.

There are 828 firefighters on site who have knocked down numerous spot fires caused by flying embers from the main complex, Simon-Jackson said. The fire is raging through extremely dry fuels, which is causing the vast smoke plume and making the blaze hard to contain.

The fire area is closed from Highway 395 to the east, Taylor Lake to the west, Red Clover Creek to the south and to the Plumas-Lassen national forests border to the north.