MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES — The Electra Fire, located in Amador and Calaveras Counties, started on the 4th of July this week and is now well into day 4 of burning. The current size, as reported by CalFire , is 4,272 acres. The fire is 40% contained and full containment is expected by July 18, 2022. No structures have been destroyed, however 1,217 structures are threatened. One injury is being reported to a first responder. Evacuations are currently in place in both Amador and Calaveras Counties.
The fire started near Vox Beach, which is located close to the intersection of State Route 49 and Electra Road in Amador County. The cause is under investigation however Pacific Gas and Electric Company(PG&E) has reported that their equipment was not at fault.
In the first few hours of the fire approximately 400 acres was burned. The fire was being reported to be burning at a “critical rate of spread” and firefighting crews started pouring in from local counties and throughout the state. Local law enforcement agencies also joined in and started notifying local residents about evacuation warnings and mandatory evacuations. By day two the fire had burned over 3,000 acres.
For local residents impacted by the Electra Fire the scene was very familiar. They remembered all to well the Butte Fire that burned almost over 70,000 acres in 2015 and destroyed 475 residences and 343 outbuildings. The Electra Fire started very close to where the Butte Fire started and has been burning inside the Butte Fire Burn Scar throughout its duration.
Day two of the Electra Fire involved fire crews converging on the fire from all over the state and at some times close to 14 firefighting aircraft were over the fire including helicopters, tankers and also news choppers were in the area broadcasting live. All eyes seemed to be glued to social media, websites and news stations just waiting for updated reports. Also a community briefing was scheduled to take place at 7:00pm via Facebook live. By the end of the day the fire was 3900 acres and 10 percent contained. Evacuations were still in place and electrical power was now out for approximately 10,000 customers.
Day three brought a larger Incident Management Team (IMT) to the area to coordinate the fire battle and organize the many ground and air crews fighting the fire. An IMT is made up of trained personnel who provide operational management and support to large scale, expanding incidents. Later in the afternoon of day 3 some evacuations were downgraded and a firing operation was conducted in areas that needed the most attention to keep the fire from spreading. Although the firing operation generated a lot more smoke it was kept within the current fire containment lines and no problems were reported.
That brings us back to day four of the Electra Fire. Today more firing operations are expected to aid in keeping the fire within the Mokelumne River canyon area and out of the communities to the east, west and north of the fire and above the canyon. Evacuation orders and warnings are still in place and being coordinated by the CalFire Amador El Dorado Unit and local law enforcement agencies. Updated Amador County evacuation orders can be found here and Calaveras Counties are here . Power has been restored in some areas, however the fire area included many power lines that have to be inspected by PG&E before restoration can begin.
Sierra News Online would like to remind the members of our communities that fire season is upon us and you need to be prepared to evacuate at any time. For help being prepared we published a series of articles in the spring for “Wildfire Wednesdays” that are available here. You can also go to https://www.ready.gov/.
As always Sierra News Online will bring you breaking news on our website and social media pages when a wildfire breaks out near you!