River Fire: Thousands evacuated after fire engulfs 1,400 acres in Nevada and Placer county

The fire started on August 4 and burnt 1,000 acres in the first two hours and is moving at unbelievable speeds


                            River Fire: Thousands evacuated after fire engulfs 1,400 acres in Nevada and Placer county
(CalFireNEU/Twitter)

COLFAX, CALIFORNIA: A fast-growing fire in Nevada and Placer County in California has prompted an evacuation order. The fire was reported off Milk Ranch Road and Bear River Campground Road, north of Applegate in Nevada and Placer on August 4 evening. The fire had engulfed 45 acres. Within an hour the I-80 for Highway 174 was shut down completely as the fire was picking up at unbelievable speeds and had crossed Mt. Olive within an hour into Sunshine Valley and Lower Colfax. At around 11 pm on August 4, the official update said the fire had now covered 1400 acres and was 0% contained, the 1000 acres were burnt within the first two hours. 

In mid-July, the people of California experienced another major fire, the Tamarack wildfire which affected Alpine County. It started on July 4 due to lightning and was estimated to have destroyed 500 acres with no containment information. Mandatory evacuation warnings were issued to residents of Markleeville, Grover Hot Springs Park and Campground, Shay Creek, Markleeville Village, and East Fork Resort. By August 2, the fire had damaged 68,696 acres of timber and head-high chaparral in national forest land. The evacuation warnings were lifted in the last week of July but the fire continues to burn and remains 82% contained. 

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CalFire updates say the fire destroyed 35 to 40 structures

CalFire's Twitter account has been posting all updates regarding the calamity and they've estimated the fire has damaged or destroyed around 35 to 40 structures. Another 2,000 structures are threatened which include 2,000 in Colfax, according to officials. The fire is said to have started after gusty winds in the region. Parts of California including the Colfax region are facing major drought issues which are helping the fire grow rapidly. Officials said the main body of the fire followed spot fires quickly after the initial flames began. 

The Placer County sheriff-coroner-marshal’s office announced evacuations in Colfax, and a report says at least 2,400 people evacuated their homes in Place County. Officials urged residents in areas where evacuation warnings were issued to move out swiftly.  Nevada County fire and law enforcement officials said about 4,200 people were under either evacuation orders or warnings. Evacuation centers were established for both counties and animal shelter for pets was set up as well. 

"If you received an evacuation warning, please go. If you received an order, get out," Placer County Sheriff Devon Bell told the news conference. "Our hearts are with our communities, our friends, our neighbors who have been impacted by this incident," Bell said. A fire ecologist from Grass Valley said they evacuated their home without warning because the fire was moving very quickly. "There's a big column of smoke. It's pretty dark, kind of like a purple, gray, eerie smoke. It's in a pretty steep river canyon, and they really like to just blow up river canyons with the wind," said Carrie Levine, who studies fire fuels and develops models for a private company.

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