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Fire disaster came close to Michigan Bluff, Foresthill: Cal Fire chief

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A lightning-strike fire that erupted over the weekend came dangerously close to spreading into the mountain communities of Foresthill and Michigan Bluff, Placer County’s top fire official said Tuesday. Dubbed the Foresthill fire, the wildland blaze was described by Cal Fire’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Chief Brad Harris as a potential disaster in the making. With water bombers and helicopter bucket flights averted to the hundreds of other fires in California caused by an unusual dry lightning storm, Cal Fire and local crews had to climb to the top of a steep ridge to get to the remote location to battle the blaze from the ground. Fire suppression was hampered initially by water pressure that was almost negligible because of the length of hose needed to get to the site. Firefighters retreated to an area that they thought they could fight the fire and were able to keep it from moving closer to Michigan Bluff and Foresthill, both east of Auburn. The fire was contained by Monday to 75 acres but Harris said putting resources there meant other fires in more remote locations in the Tahoe National Forest were left burning. “If we didn’t catch it, we were going for a lot of acres,” Harris said. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com.