On May 5th, at about 8:00 AM, a man arrived on foot at the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) to report his vehicle had caught fire approximately one mile up the steep, narrow, and twisty Galloway Road, south of Downieville.
The Downieville Fire Protection District (DFPD) responded quickly to the news and, when they arrived on the scene in their green and yellow, four-wheel drive fire wagon, their crew discovered the fire being driven up the hill by a light wind through the heavily forested area.
Given the circumstances, the DFPD immediately asked for mutual aid from firefighters in Alleghany and Pike City, as well as the US Forest Service.
By 11:00 AM, local volunteers plus a Forest Service Hotshot crew from the USFS’s station in Camptonville were able to slow the fire’s spread and the incident command was assumed by the Forest Service, allowing the volunteer firefighters to be released.
In his press release concerning the incident, the Sierra County Sheriff, Mike Fisher expressed his office’s thanks to all the firefighters for their quick response and hard work in getting the fire under control.
Later in the day, The Mountain Messenger received word of the DFPD calling for a Firewise meeting to be held on June 6th at the Community Hall in Downieville. The details have yet to be announced, however, the agenda is sure to include discussions about immediate actions the community can take to prepare for the extremely high threat of wildfires throughout the coming hot and dry months.
Developing and testing an evacuation plan, for example, is certainly an item to be considered. Education of local residents about the meaning of the different signals they will hear from the town’s new siren would be useful. Acquiring and distributing “EVACUATED” signage to residents would be a big help to emergency service workers while they scour our streets making sure everyone has been alerted to the need to leave their homes.
We were fortunate. If, instead of the light wind we had, the “Red Flag”conditions seen here a few days ago had been in force, well, we’ll let everyone draw their own picture.