SMARTSVILLE, Calif. — Airtanker planes and ground crews have contained an estimated 55-acre vegetation blaze in the Sierra foothills that collaborating fire agencies battled for about six hours, according a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesperson.
“There is a line around the fire to prevent its forward spread,” said Lynne Tolmachoff, a Cal Fire spokeswoman. “When we call it controlled, that is when fire crews are no longer working on it.”
The fire was first reported just before 10 a.m. at 15 acres, but by 1 p.m. the inferno had grown to 55 acres, Tolmachoff said. A final acre-damage had not been counted at the time of this report.
Smartsville is located about an hour and 15 minutes west of Truckee.
While no evacuations were confirmed by Cal Fire, Tolmachoff said that two structures were threatened by the blaze. A freelance photographer, Annita Kasparian, told The Union that animals from a ranch along Hammonton-Smartsville Road had been evacuated. She said the ranch belonged to a Dennis and Cammy Jacobson.
“The issues were having is right now the temperatures have come up since this started and we are seeing some winds right now,” Tolmachoff said earlier in the day amid the batle with the blaze.
As the fire spread from McGanney Lane all the way to Highway 20, the California Department of Transportation initially closed that road in both directions at Hammonton-Smartsville Road, but by the afternoon, Tolmachoff said that the eastbound lane had been reopened under the guidance of traffic control, while westbound traffic was being diverted through Smartsville. Cal Trans indicated that the traffic control could last until around 8 p.m.
“They are doing traffic control with a lead car,” Tolmachoff said. “People are getting through, but there is a good chance they will get delayed going through there.”
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but Tolmachoff said the investigation will be ongoing.
Cal Fire enlisted the help of aerial fire fighting methods as well as neighboring fire fighting agencies from Marysville, Smartsville, Penn Valley, Linda, Nevada County Consolidated and a water tender from Beale Air Force Base, Tolmachoff said.
Christopher Rosacker is a reporter for The Union, the Sun’s sister paper in Grass Valley and Nevada City.