Sonora & San Andreas, CA — While this Riverside County fire is hundreds of miles from the Mother Lode, local C.D.F. fire officials are both sad and angry regarding the devastation and the cause of this massive blaze which had burned a reported 24,000 acres by Friday morning.
Tuolumne-Calaveras C.D.F. Unit Chief Mike Noonan labeled this act of arson as murder given that four U.S. Forest Service firefighters had died as of Friday morning. A fifth is listed in critical condition with burns over ninety-five percent of his body. Noonan added that whenever a firefighter goes down, all those in the industry feel the pain and sadness because of the family atmosphere and the inherent danger faced by firefighters.
Tuolumne County Fire Marshall Kary Hubbard commented that it is absolutely sickening that anyone would be the cause of such a fire. She added that the thoughts and prayers of all firefighters go out to the families and loveones of those who have surrendered their lives. She also reminded Mother Lode residents that although the weather has cooled, the 2006 Fire Season has yet to offiically end even though sporatic burning is permitted.
Written by Bill Johnson