Sierra Nevada wildfire threatens small rural communities

San Luis Obispo County blaze 30% contained
Posted at 6:29 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 17:34:13-04

UPDATE (2:29 PM): A Sierra Nevada wildfire destroyed four structures and was a threat to more than 500 homes and other buildings, California authorities said Wednesday.

The Rices Fire grew to 900 acres (364 hectares) along the Yuba River in Nevada County, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Unit Chief Brian Estes told an early afternoon briefing.

The fire was still at zero containment, but Estes said he was cautiously optimistic there would be some level of containment by later in the day.

The small communities of Birchville, Sweetland, French Corral, Bridgeport, Rices Crossing, and the Buttermilk area were under evacuation orders.

Authorities said the mandatory evacuation orders affected about 340 people.

Evacuation warnings were issued for areas of neighboring Yuba County, meaning people there should be prepared to leave.

Cal Fire did not specify the types of structures that were destroyed but noted that damage assessment was underway in the burn area.

On the central coast, the 325-acre (131-hectare) Camino Fire in San Luis Obispo County was 30% contained and no structures were threatened, Cal Fire said. Investigators determined it was ignited by a vehicle’s catalytic converter.

A wildfire that erupted in Northern California forced evacuations as it threatened about 500 homes and other buildings Tuesday, authorities said.

The Rices Fire erupted at around 2 p.m. near the Yuba River in Nevada County and had spread to more than 500 acres (202 hectares) by nightfall, said Unit Chief Brian Estes of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The flames also threatened power lines, water delivery systems and a state park, Estes said.

The rural area is in the Sierra Nevada, northeast of Sacramento and about halfway between the state Capitol and the Nevada border.

Authorities earlier said the fire began with a burning building and the flames spread to nearby dry vegetation.

At an evening news conference, however, Estes said he couldn't confirm reports that some buildings had been destroyed.

About 350 buildings homes and other buildings were under evacuation orders, county Sheriff Shannan Moon said.

Firefighters fought the blaze on the ground and in the air, with aircraft making dozens of drops of water and fire retardant.

The fire was one of several in Northern California that flared Tuesday as the state sweltered under summer heat, with temperatures in the Rices Fire area hitting as high as 98 F (36.6 C) with low humidity.

A blaze that erupted Tuesday morning in San Luis Obispo County burned through grass and brush. It threatened about 50 buildings but no damage or injuries were reported and the blaze was 25% contained, fire officials said.

In Glenn County, a fire that charred more than 300 acres (121 hectares) was 65% contained.

Another fire near Davis, west of Sacramento, was contained without building damage or injuries after burning 500 acres (202 hectares), authorities said.


Put together your emergency supply kit long before a wildfire or other disaster occurs and keep it easily accessible so you can take it with you when you have to evacuate.

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist:

  • Face masks or coverings
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
  • Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
  • Prescriptions or special medications
  • Change of clothing
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
  • Don’t forget pet food and water!

Items to take if time allows:

  • Easily carried valuables
  • Family photos and other irreplaceable items
  • Personal computer information on hard drives and disks
  • Chargers for cell phones, laptops, etc.

Always keep a sturdy pair of shoes and a flashlight near your bed and handy in case of a sudden evacuation at night.