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Update: Foresthill Fire contained

Officials say Western States trail not impacted by forest fires
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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The Foresthill Fire is 100 percent contained as of Monday morning, according to Bill Mendonca, battalion chief for Cal Fire. The fire, initially estimated to be about 50 acres, was actually 100 acres, Mendonca said. The Foresthill Fire was initially of “great concern,” according to Jane LaBoa, U.S. Forest Service public information officer. She said it was a challenge because it was on a steep, wooded slope. Mendonca estimated that about 100 crewmembers were on the fire line today in Foresthill mopping up. He said crews will also keep an eye on it to make sure it remains contained. A fire that broke out in Newcastle Sunday is now contained, according to Mendonca. The fire, initially reported as a 10-acre spot fire, ended up burning about 40 acres. While homes were threatened, no structure was damaged and no injuries were reported, Mendonca said. Mendonca said two engines are patrolling the site today for safety precautions. Other fires hit the area this weekend in remote locations along the American River. Officials anticipate that those fires will not affect the course for this year’s Western States Endurance Run taking place this weekend. LaBoa said crews have been advising runners who are training to avoid fire areas this week. But overall, she said she expects the race to continue as scheduled. County Air Pollution Control District Officer Tom Christofk said the department is issuing a statement reminding people to use common sense as smoke from area fires stays in the air. “From a health perspective, if you can smell it, see and it’s in your nose, you ought to not exercise in it,” Christofk said. Christofk said he cannot fully measure the air particulate count in the area because measurement tools are currently in use for a study being completed at a rail yard in Roseville. He said he expects the haze and smoke to remain in the area through tomorrow. Two other fires near each other are still zero percent contained as of early Monday afternoon. The Government Fire on the north side of the American River is still burning and has consumed about 700 acres. Across the river and to the south, the Westville fire is still active and covers 25 to 30 acres along the wild river scenic corridor, LaBoa said. LaBoa said both fires are being monitored from the air and ground but crews are still competing for resources from other fires in California. “When you get these fires in these very steep, difficult area, you want to get the right kind of resources and sufficient resources,” LaBoa said. “They’re keeping an eye on these fires and when the time is right and they have the right support, they’ll go ahead and engage and fight the fire directly.” LaBoa said the two fires are close to the China Wall OHV staging area and are also close to the Mumford Bar Trail. Those areas are to the south of Foresthill Divide Road. Crews are also battling a third fire that is toward the middle fork of the American River. The Peavine Fire is about 25 acres and was zero percent contained as of Monday afternoon. LaBoa said that she expects that containment number to increase by Monday evening. With all three areas, LaBoa said there are not any nearby towns or campgrounds. She said crews are searching for any structures that may be in the vicinity. “It’s very isolated out there,” LaBoa said. A fire that broke out in Newcastle Sunday is now contained, according to Mendonca. The fire, initially reported as a 10-acre spot fire, ended up burning about 40 acres. While homes were threatened, no structure was damaged and no injuries were reported, Mendonca said. Mendonca said two engines are patrolling the site today for safety precautions. LaBoa said that Monday’s light wind means better firefighting conditions. She said more lightning storms are predicted for later this week, but there is not much crews can do to prepare. “We’re sort of in a wait and see mode right now,” LaBoa said. She added that different crews and agencies have worked well together to contain the fires, especially the Foresthill Fire. “That was one of great concern and it worked out very well thanks to the hard effort of Cal Fire and their cooperators,” LaBoa said. “They really did an excellent job on that fire.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment. ---------- Smoke effects Air Pollution Control District officials say smoke from areas fires over the weekend will remain in the air through Tuesday. Officials offered a few tips for residents: - Avoid exercising outdoors, especially when you can “feel” the smoke - Children and older adults are most affected by smoke For more information, visit www.placer.ca.gov/Dpeartments/Air.aspx or call (530) 745-2373 ----------