Quick response keeps fire out of Glenshire
Glenshire residents along the subdivision’s western bluff breathed a collective sigh of relief Friday afternoon, after fire crews extinguished a small wildland fire only a few hundred yards from many Royal Way homes.
The fire, which started off the end of Royal Way, was 2.5 acres in size, but close enough to Glenshire homes to require two ground handcrews and an air attack by three air tankers and a helicopter.
Many Royal Way residents rushed home or out of their houses to turn on sprinklers and water down wood in yards to help defend homes. Type one strike teams and fire engines stood by the structures nearest the fire to offer protection and assist neighbors in moving wood and other dry debris away from their homes.
“The (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) philosophy is to fight fire very aggressively and mobilize quickly. In this case, we were fortunate to be able to contain this fire to a small size,” said CDF Battalion Chief Bryce Keller.
A unified command system was set up by CDF and Truckee Fire Protection District, which also had support from Squaw Valley Fire, Northstar Fire, North Tahoe Fire, Donner Summit Fire, and the U.S. Forest Service.
According to Keller, investigators determined the fire was human caused, but details are still under investigation.
“However, at this point I don’t believe it was arson but some other non-intentional cause,” he said.
The fire began at approximately 3 p.m. Friday and was contained to 2.5 acres by 4:30 p.m. The fire was fully controlled late Friday night, but light mop-up continued through Monday. The total cost was approximately $75,000.
“The savings were tremendous because of the potential of catastrophic damage to the community,” said Keller.
Glenshire residents on Royal Way and nearby streets were concerned about the fire’s proximity of less than a quarter mile.
The Bergen family rushed over to their friends’ house, which was the last house on Royal Way, closest to the fire. Their friends were on vacation in Michigan, so their house was unoccupied.
“We just grabbed the hoses and came up,” said Marilyn Bergen, who lives near Juniper Hills on Somerset Drive. “You always worry when you go on vacation about your house. You just never know. We’re trying to water down all the wood and make defensible space. They’re our dear friends.”
The Bergens watered down their friends’ piles of lumber and Manzanita bushes.
Other neighbors came out to see what all of the action was all about, but weren’t too worried.
“I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was an air show at first,” said Don Hudson, who has lived in Glenshire for two years. He walked about five blocks from his house to see what all of the action was, but said he wasn’t scared the fire would put anyone in danger.
“We’ve got a lot of fire protection here and especially with those planes up in the air,” he said.
Keller said the neighborhood was very appreciative and supportive of the fire departments and the crews working in the area.
He also warned that people in the Truckee area need to be aware that fire danger is extremely high right now.
“The window of opportunity for a large dangerous fire is much greater this year,” Keller said. “It’s a heads up to all to be fire safe and get defensible space. We’re not yet at the peak of the fire season, which was in the fall.”
The greater risk of fire danger is mostly due to the increased fuel levels from a dry spring. The percent of fuel moisture in dry timber and fallen and dead trees is way below the average, said Keller, which are indicators of increased danger.
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