A wildland fire inside the Colusa Weir burned about 840 acres on Sunday night before firefighters were able to get the blaze under control.
According to Sacramento River Fire Protection District Chief Jeffrey Winters, investigators believe the fire started on the south side of the weir, about a mile and a half east of the bridge on River Road.
“At this time, the cause is still under investigation,” Winters said. “We’ve got some ideas we’re trying to run down.”
Winters said that the fire was almost entirely contained to the weir, and did not damage any infrastructure or buildings. No one was hurt as a result of the fire, the glow from which Winters said could be seen from as far away as Williams at one point on Sunday night.
The Sacramento Fire Protection District was first notified of the fire at 4:15 PM on Sunday afternoon, by a pilot who had flown over the weir and noticed flames. At around 4:30 PM, Winters went out to investigate. By the time he got there, the fire had burned approximately 55 acres, Winters said.
“Of course, the issue out there is we can’t drive out there safely without the fear of getting stuck, because it’s so sandy,” Winters said.
Because of the risk of the fire equipment getting stuck, Winters made a call to the California Department of Water Resources and requested two bulldozers, hoping to cut a line to stop the fire before it reached a nearby tree line and got into the wooded area of the weir.
“Our main goal was to stop it from getting into the tree line, into the jungle,” Winters said. “That didn’t work out.”
At the point Winters first requested the bulldozers, there was about a 12 mph wind out of the southeast, and the fire was still about a quarter mile away from the tree line.
“At that time, we were pretty safe,” he said. “We made the request for the dozers… but it took a little bit of time to get them there. During that time, at about 5:30 PM, I requested an alarm for the Colusa Station. Basically, at that time, we were worried about the fire burning all the way across the weir and up onto the levee. We didn’t want it to get that far. So we… brought in a couple engines just to stand by and monitor the levee on the north end.”
Winters also took an engine crew to the south end of the weir and started doing some hand work, he said. Before the bulldozers arrived, the wind shifted and the fire took off into the wooded area, approaching Laux Road, and mutual aid was requested from the Colusa City Fire Department and the Meridian Fire Department.
“At that time, the fire was pretty close – probably within 50 feet of the road,” Winters said. “So our next concern were the duck clubs on the north side of Laux Road – Butte Lodge and El Anzar. We requested some additional mutual aid from Williams, Maxwell, Arbuckle, and Princeton – so we could have some resources there in case it crossed the road. It finally did at around 7:30 PM – it spotted across Laux Road to the north, and we had the resources there.”
When the bulldozers arrived, firefighters were able to cut fire lines to slow and ultimately stop the fire.
“Once it hit the dozer line, it pretty much went out,” Winters said.
The last fire personnel were cleared from the fire at about 11:26 PM. A total of seven engines, three water tenders, two bulldozers, and about 40 people were called out to fight the fire, Winters said. ■