A property owner driving a metal pipe into the ground with a sledge hammer sparked a fast-moving brush fire in Copperopolis Friday afternoon.
Firefighters were called to the Diamond XX area off Chuck wagon Drive just before 4 p.m. Friday. The fire was nearly controled by the property owner with a garden hose until his water system failed.
The wind driven flames took off in the dry grass, and burnt west from the property. The fire destroying at least two vehicles and an out building. “We had multiple structures threatened within this Diamond XX subdivision,” CDF Operations Commander Cameron Todd said Friday from the fire lines.
The area is a densely populated subdivision in western Calaveras County off Highway 4 near Lake Tulloch.
“No residences were lost,” Todd said, but added he did see one outbuilding was destroyed.
CDF air tankers and helicopters, in addition to a U.S. Forest Service helicopter aided crews working on the ground.
Tuolumne/Calaveras Unit CDF Battalion Cheif Richard Imlach said the cause of the fire was unusual. With hot temperatures and humidity in the low 20s a “metal on metal” spark like this can easily start a fire, he said.
With strong winds, the fire had “the potential to go right into Copperopolis.” Todd said. Luckily, with all the roads, the fire was stopped. “We were very fortunate not to have much property damage,” Imlach said.
Imlach did not have an immediate cost estimate of the battling the fire and property loss. “We had a lot of aircraft on this. It will be a very expensive fire to put out,” he said.
Containment of the fire is expected by around 8 p.m. Friday night.