Illegal campfire starts wildfire near Prosser |

Illegal campfire starts wildfire near Prosser

David Bunker

TRUCKEE – Despite recent campfire restrictions and warnings of very high fire danger, a camper left an active campfire unattended Friday, sparking a small wildfire near Prosser Reservoir’s dam.

A boater on Prosser Reservoir reported smoke Friday at about 1:30 p.m. and three fire engines and 20 firefighters rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze. The fire charred nearly a half acre of sage and pine needles under large pine trees, said Linda Ferguson, fire prevention officer for the Truckee Ranger district of the Tahoe National Forest.

The person or persons who left the fire unattended, in an area where it is illegal to have campfires, was not located, Ferguson said.

The small fire burned during a time of tinder dry vegetation and warm days that have caused local agencies to warn people of dangerous fire conditions.

“We’ve been going in and out of ‘extreme’ and ‘very high,'” said Ferguson of the fire threat levels.

On Wednesday of last week the California Department of Forestry issued a “red flag” fire warning.

Ferguson said the Forest Service has been discovering about two or three illegal or abandoned campfires a week. The public has been very helpful in reporting the fires, she said.

“We get lucky with these ones,” Ferguson said.

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