Electra fire holds at 3,900 acres; thousands without power

The 3,900-acre Electra fire in Northern California’s Amador and Calaveras counties was not gaining ground overnight and into Wednesday morning, and firefighters were able to double its containment to 10%, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

But about 8,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers in Amador and Calaveras counties remain without power Wednesday due to the fire, and many are still under mandatory evacuation orders.

The Electra fire, which remains one of the biggest fires this season, ignited near the North Fork of the Mokelumne River Monday afternoon and spread quickly amid dry scrub and steep terrain, according to Cal Fire officials. The fire remained active through the first half of the night, but humidity in the early hours helped limit its activity, officials said.

“The biggest issue right now is the terrain and topography,” Electra fire department spokesman Chris Dargan said Wednesday morning. He said much of the fire burns in a ravine, which poses a challenge for crews.

The fire ignited not far from PG&E’s Electra Powerhouse, a hydroelectric facility, but company spokesman Megan McFarland said that “PG&E was not involved in the ignition,” company spokesman Megan McFarland said.

The cause of the fire is being further investigated.

PG&E has been able to restore power to about 7,000 customers since the fire began, McFarland said. The company has also unplugged several distribution lines for firefighter safety and has 11 engine safety and infrastructure protection teams working to address potential equipment problems from the fire, she said.

About 100 people were evacuated from the PG&E hydroelectric plant on Monday, McFarland said.

Mandatory evacuation orders have not changed since Tuesday afternoon, Dargan said, and many residents of Amador and Calaveras counties are still under evacuation orders and warnings.

Two evacuation centers were established: at the Italian Picnic Grounds at California State Road 49 in Amador County and at Calaveras County at the Mountain Oak School on Old Oak Road in San Andreas. A previous evacuation shelter at San Andreas City Hall has been closed.

Shelters for large and small animals are also available at the Amador County Fairgrounds.

At least one firefighter was injured fighting the blaze, but a Cal Fire spokesman said the injury was minor.

More than 1,300 firefighters have continued to battle the blaze since Wednesday morning.

The fire is one of Cal’s largest fires this year, surpassed only by the 5,800-acre Lost Lake fire that burned in Riverside County in May and the 4,100-acre airport fire that burned in Inyo in February, according to the agency County burned .

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-06/thousands-still-without-power-as-electra-fire-holds-at-3-900-acres-now-10-contained Electra fire holds at 3,900 acres; thousands without power

Alley Einstein

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