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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quick Look: California Wildfires Today

Weather: No Current Fire Weather Warnings or Watches - NWS Current Fire Weather Watches / Warnings

Penn Fire: 180 acres - 15% contained
Penn Fire Incident Information: Progress made overnight constructing direct and contingency lines
Continuing threat to distribution power lines
Heavy fuels with continuing threat to Stanislaus River drainage
Evacuations lifted, roads open to residents only.

A CAL FIRE firefighter sustained a major injury while engaged in firefighting operations off Skunk Ranch Road in the early hours of the fire. The firefighter and a CAL FIRE engine were struck by a civilian motorist on Skunk Ranch Road. The civilian motorist declined treatment at the scene. 
 The CAL FIRE firefighter was transported by helicopter to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for treatment. He is currently undergoing surgery for his injuries.
 The CAL FIRE engine sustained moderate damage.  An investigation into the accident and subsequent injury is being conducted by the California Highway Patrol. 
CAL FIRE has activated a serious accident review team as part of standard departmental procedures for injuries and vehicle damage of this nature. 
Date/Time Started: July 25, 2012 3:24 pmAdministrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tuolume-Calavares Unit
County: Calavares County
Location: Off Skunk Ranch Road, near Pennsylvania Gulch, East of Murphy
Acres Burned: 180 acres
Containment 15% contained
Structures Destroyed: 1 outbuilding destroyed
Threatened: 12 homes threatened
Evacuations: Evacuations have been lifted.
Injuries: 1
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, CHP, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Murphys Fire, NCPA, Calaveras SO, Altaville Melones Fire, Ebbetts Pass Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, PG&E.
Total Fire Personnel: 263
Engines: 20
Fire crews: 9
Airtankers: 4
Helicopters: 4
Dozers: 4
Water tenders: 5
Conditions: Both Pennsylvania Gulch and Skunk Ranch Road are anticipated to be ooen to local residential traffic only at 21:00 tonight.
Graham Fire: 100 acres - 5% contained
Graham Fire Incident Information: Clements Road / Community of Groveland
Potential continues for active fire behavior with slope and wind alignment
Very steep slope with creeping, roll out and possible spotting
Difficult access to flanks
Potential for fire to establish itself in Tuolumne River drainage

Continuing threat to Tuolumne river wild and Scenic areaDate/Time Started: July 25, 2012 3:10 pm
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tuolume-Calavares Unit
County: Tuolume County
Location: Off Graham Ranch Road, East of Groveland
Acres Burned: 100 acres
Containment 5% contained
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, Groveland Community Services District, Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, Tuolumne County Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and PG&E
Total Fire Personnel: 264
Engines: 21
Fire crews: 8
Airtankers: 3
Helicopters: 2
Dozers: 3
Water tenders: 3
Conditions: The fire is burning in very steep and difficult terrain.
Paskenta Fire: 300 acres - 100% containment
Name: Paskenta Fire
County: Tehama County
Location: off Round Valley Rd in Paskenta
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tehama-Glenn Unit
Date Started: July 25, 2012 6:30 pm
Last update: July 25, 2012 9:30 pm 

In memoriam - East Pierce (WA) Fire Chief Daniel Packer was fatally injured July 26, 2008 during a shelter deployment on the Panther Fire, Klamath National Forest. In order to prepare for assuming responsibility of a division the following day, Chief Packer was scouting the fire with another incoming Division Supervisor when the fire ran up a drainage and cut off their escape route. For more information, visit

In memoriam - On July 26, 1978, Six Rivers NF engine crewmembers Richard Montano, Gayle Tsutsumi, and David Perrine were killed, and Mark Evans and Gene Schmoker injured when their engine collided with a logging truck south of Orleans, California. The Orleans engine was responding to fires in Weitchpec when the accident occurred. For more information, visit


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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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