Foothills crews head south

archive_import /

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Firefighters, fire engines, a helicopter and scores of support personnel from Tuolumne and Calaveras counties are helping fight infernos raging from Mexico to suburbs north of Los Angeles.

As of this morning, a dozen separate fires had claimed at least 17 lives, 15 in Southern California and two in Mexico. The blazes are scattered along an arc from the Los Angeles suburbs to Ensenada, about 60 miles south of the border. More than 1,100 homes had been destroyed in California as of this morning.

More than 500,000 acres of brush, forest and homes have burned in California, and firefighters hoping for a change in weather will have to wait at least one more day, though the south state winds have died down some.

Firefighters from throughout the West are heading to Los Angeles and San Diego to help from Nevada and Arizona. Foothills crews are no exception.

Personnel from the state Department of Forestry and various Mother Lode fire departments have been heading out since last week to help the overtaxed firefighters down south.

On Thursday, CDF sent a strike team of five engines and 16 people to the southland. Saturday, another 10 CDF engines from Tuolumne and Calaveras counties headed south, as did a Calaveras County strike team made up of personnel from five districts.

Jerry Snyder, spokesman for Stanislaus National Forest, said that during the past week, 105 forest staff, four engines and a helicopter have been deployed to fight the southern fires being fanned by the hot, dry Santa Ana winds, which have gusted as fast as 70 mph in recent days.

CDF has sent 22 people, from firefighters to finance to logistics specialists, said Andy McMurry, CDF duty chief in San Andreas.

Everyone is needed.

One of the biggest fire fights this morning was unfolding in the Santa Susana Mountains that separate Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, where 1.3 million people live, from the Simi Valley in neighboring Ventura County to the west.

That fire, which had destroyed 16 homes since beginning Saturday, was dangerously close to a gated community of million-dollar mansions in Los Angeles' Chatsworth section. It was only 5 percent contained as of this morning.

11511964
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Sunday May 29, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s deputies respond to alarm at Sonora KFC

05/26/2016

Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies responded with guns drawn to a holdup alarm ... more

Avalon Care Center fined for patient death

05/24/2016

Avalon Care Center in Sonora has been fined $80,000 by the California ... more

UPDATE: Probe begins in Don Pedro fire

05/25/2016

Investigators began sifting through the rubble of the Don Pedro Recreation Agency ... more

Homelessness, high school and the Butte Fire

05/20/2016

Cole Baisch arrived at Calaveras High School around lunchtime as the sky ... more

Deputies visit schools, build community ties

05/24/2016

You would think Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputy Nate Yorston was Santa Claus ... more