Line Fire

A photo taken by Sonora resident Phil Nichols at 4 p.m. Sunday of smoke cloud from a fire that was burning about eight miles east of Groveland.

A fire that broke out Sunday fire near Hells Hollow east of Groveland burned more than 20 acres and prompted temporary evacuation advisories in the area.

Fire crews were remaining on scene Monday and perhaps Tuesday to ensure the burn area is secure, a communications supervisor for the Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit said Monday.

The fire was first reported at 2:44 p.m. Sunday in the Hells Hollow area next to Highway 120, about eight miles east of Groveland. 

Flames were cresting a ridge at one point, and some of the first firefighters on scene set up to do structure protection while helicopter pilots did bucket drops on the fire.

A total of nine engine crews responded to fight the fire, a Cal Fire TCU communications supervisor said in a phone interview.

At 5:35 p.m., the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office posted to social media that fire crews were battling the blaze in the Hells Hollow area and due to the fire, evacuation advisories had been issued for residents on Hells Hollow Road and Short Line Road.

At 6 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office posted, “The risk to homes because of the fire has been reduced. Therefore, evacuation advisements have been lifted.”

In addition to nine engine crews and two helicopters, there were two hand crews and personnel driving one bulldozer, three water tank trucks, a safety officer and a prevention officer on scene at the height of the fire.

Crews declared the fire contained around 6:30 p.m. The fire burned heavy brush and didn’t damage any structures or result in any injuries. 

The cause of the fire was being investigated. 

Video from remote cameras showed the fire burning actively, and many motorists on Highway 120 saw smoke billowing from the fire. 

Late March is early for a fast-moving forest fire. It’s been dry and warm since mid-March, and the past weekend with daytime highs in the 70s was warmer than normal for late March.

Fire crews remained on scene overnight Sunday to monitor the burned area and intended to do so Monday, and perhaps Tuesday, to ensure all hot spots are out. The fire was called the Line Fire.

Contact Guy McCarthy at or 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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