|A fire on the afternoon of Friday, July 13, 2012, burned a travel trail, shed and a third of an acre of vegetation amongst homes in Nice, Calif. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.|
NICE, Calif. – Fast action by firefighters saved several homes clustered on a steep hillside along E. Highway 20 late Friday afternoon.
Shortly before 4 p.m. Northshore Fire personnel were dispatched to 4342 E. State Highway 20 on the report of a vegetation fire with structures threatened.
Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Steve Hart was at the Nice fire station – about a mile away – when the call came in, and he and a crew were able to get on scene within about three minutes of the call.
By the time they arrived, a 16-foot travel trailer on the back of the property was involved and about a quarter-acre of moderate to heavy vegetation, according to Hart and radio reports.
Making matters worse, Hart told Lake County News that the hillside where the fire was located had a 70-percent slope and there were five homes within about 150 to 200 feet of the fire.
He said it looked like a bomb had gone off, and he feared that the fire could take all of the homes. “It was going that good.”
As a result, Hart called for a full strike team of local engines.
He said Lakeport, South Lake County Fire, Cal Fire and Williams Fire – which is in the area helping cover a local fire station – all sent engines, and a total of nearly 50 personnel were on scene.
While firefighters were working the incident the High Rock 1 Cal Fire hand crew – with 20 personnel – happened to pass through the area. They turned around and came back to help, Hart said.
“We really lucked out,” he said.
The first 30 minutes on the incident were particularly harried, with Hart pointing to difficulties accessing the site. Firefighters used the narrow and steep Hutchins Road, located off a stretch of E. Highway 20 lined by homes on both sides, to get to the fire.
It took about 40 minutes to fully contain the fire, Hart said. Mop up continued until the incident was terminated just after 6 p.m. No injuries were reported.
“The apparent cause was an electrical cord in the grass,” Hart said.
Altogether, about a third of an acre of vegetation, a wood pile, the travel trailer and a 10-foot by 20-foot shed were burned, according to Hart.
A portion of the shed was burned and the trailer was destroyed.
Hart estimated damages to be about $4,000.
Email Elizabeth Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Scorched ground near the residence were a travel trailer and shed burned in Nice, Calif., on Friday, July 13, 2012. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.