Electra Fire: Wildfire in Amador County strands 4th of July revelers, explodes to 3,034 acres

·3 min read

10:30 a.m. update: Smoke impacts region; thousands without power

Smoke from the Electra Fire is likely to impact the Mother Lode throughout today and Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Nearly 6,000 Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers in the area were without power this morning, the utility said.

“I went to bed last night knowing it was over 1,000 acres, and now we’re closely watching it as it has the potential to become a large fire,” threatening critical power infrastructure, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie told the Los Angeles Times. Heggie told the newspaper that the fire is burning in rugged, steep terrain, “which is creating accessibility issues.”

Update: Fire explodes to more than 3,000 acres overnight

The Electra Fire near Jackson has grown overnight to 3,034 acres and is zero percent contained, according to the latest update from Cal Fire. The wildfire was burning this morning toward Mokelumne Hill, Glencoe and Railroad Flat.

Evacuation orders have been issued for all roads south of Butte Mountain Road from South Clinton Road to Amador Lane in Amador County, and in Calaveras County, from North of Highway 26 from Montgomery Drive to Lower Dorray Road. A large and small animal shelter is in place at the Amador County Fairgrounds, 18621 Sherwood St. Plymouth. Several roads in the area are closed. For fire information, call 530-647-5218.

Original story

Firefighters in Northern California were battling a fresh wildfire that broke out Monday at a recreation area in Amador County packed with Fourth of July revelers and forced a number of evacuations.

As the fire quickly spread, about 100 people celebrating the holiday at a recreation area known as Vox Beach along a river in the area had to be taken to a nearby Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility, said Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman.

Those people were safe at the facility Monday night, but had been unable to leave due to the fire danger, Redman said.

CalFire says the Electra fire burning in Amador County has quickly spread to 959 acres as of just after 7 p.m. Monday.
CalFire says the Electra fire burning in Amador County has quickly spread to 959 acres as of just after 7 p.m. Monday.

"We can't get in there. Fire can't get in there," Redman told The Associated Press earlier Monday. "The trees keep going down. The whole place is on fire."

The Sheriff's Office said late Monday that the roughly 100 people sheltering at the PG&E facility had been evacuated safely.

The fire burning in Amador County quickly spread to 959 acres as of just after 7 p.m. Monday, according to Cal Fire. The fire agency had said just hours earlier on Twitter that the fire was 75 acres in size and "burning at a dangerous rate of spread in dry grass."

A firefighter sprays water on the Electra Fire burning in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Monday, July 4, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening.
A firefighter sprays water on the Electra Fire burning in the Rich Gulch community of Calaveras County, Calif., on Monday, July 4, 2022. According to Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman, approximately 100 people sheltered at a Pacific Gas & Electric facility before being evacuated in the evening.

The Red Cross has opened two shelters in response to the fire: San Andreas Town Hall, 24 Church Hill Road, San Andreas and the Italian Picnic Grounds, 581 State Highway 49, Sutter Creek.

East and westbound Highway 26 is closed from Buckeye Lane to Lower Dorray Road, because of the Electra Fire, Caltrans said Monday night. Motorists are asked to avoid area. There is no estimated time of reopening at this time.

Redman said the rate of the fire's spread had slowed by 10 p.m. Monday.

CalFire says the Electra fire burning in Amador County has quickly spread to 959 acres as of just after 7 p.m. Monday.
CalFire says the Electra fire burning in Amador County has quickly spread to 959 acres as of just after 7 p.m. Monday.

Redman said about 500 other people had been affected by mandatory and recommended evacuations. More than 10,000 PG&E customers in Amador and Calaveras counties are without power.

He said the cause of the fire was not known, but that it did start in the Vox Beach area.

He said that could suggest fireworks or a barbecue as a potential cause.

This article originally appeared on The Record: Electra Fire: California wildfire passes 3,000 acres in Amador, Calaveras