Wildfire Destroys 40 Homes Between Two Northern California Towns


Large 50 to 75 mph wind gusts helped destroy 40 homes near the Eastern base of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California, officials reported Saturday afternoon. The fire forced the evacuation of over 150 people between two small California towns on Friday. The wildfire that destroyed 40 homes between the two Northern California towns is being called “the round fire.”

The blaze began at the border of two little California towns called Paradise and Small Meadows, burning for around three hours. Currently the fire has burned more than seven thousand acres. At least twenty structures were also destroyed because of the fire between the two towns, officials said.

Firefighters had to take defensive positions to protect themselves from the wildfire, and surrounding structures. California Department of Forestry, and Fire Protection Captain Liz Brown stated. An incoming storm made it quite difficult for the firefighters to contain the fire because of the shifting direction of the winds.

The wildfire actually started near a highway on the border of Inyo and Mono counties on Friday, and moved towards the two small towns because of the huge wind gusts caused by the storm. The firefighters had even more trouble dousing the fire because of the extremely dry timber brush in the area. The dry timber brush can be blamed on the California state drought that has droned on for years. This is probably partially responsible for the wildfire that destroyed 40 homes between the two Northern California towns, officials stated.

Paradise is an incorporated town in Butte County. It is nestled in the northwest foothills of the California Central Valley near the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The town is considered part of the Chico metropolitan area located ten miles East of Chico, and 85 miles north of Sacramento. The city of Paradise is surrounded by deep canyons on either side. Paradise has a total area of 183 square miles, and has a total population of 26,249 people. Ironically enough, to wildfires spread through the town several years ago forcing the evacuations of nearly 93,000 people between Paradise and Small meadow.

The infamous Humboldt wildfire swept across 22,800 acres of land in June of 2008. Another fire called the campfire also caused the evacuations of several thousand more people in July of that same year. That blaze burned on the northern side of Paradise. The town of Small Meadows is significantly smaller than Paradise. Small Meadows is located in the Mono County area of California. The town consists mostly of residential homes but has no commercial development. There is also a volunteer fire department within the small city.

Small Meadows sits about six thousand to seven thousand feet above elevation partway up the Sherwin grade, below the Wheeler Crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is located about 25 miles South of Mammoth Lakes, and 20 miles north of the city of Bishop. As of the 2010 census the population is only 220. There are 98 households in the town consisting of about 75 families.

There were more than 200 Firefighters battling the blaze with help from more than a dozen agencies, which included the California Highway Patrol, the Inyo County sheriff department, and the Paradise Fire department. Out of the 40 homes destroyed between the two Northern California towns, Small Meadows suffered the worst of the fire with 39 homes destroyed. Only one home was destroyed in the neighboring town of Paradise. Fire personal say that the cause of the fire is still unknown. As of Saturday afternoon the fire was fifty percent contained.

By Scott Andes


LA Times

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