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Arson Ruled Out As Cause Of The Washington Fire

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Sonora, CA — It has been just over a month since the Washington Fire burned approximately 100 acres, CAL Fire Battalion Chief Matthew Gilbert updates arson has been eliminated as a possible cause. The investigation has determined the fire’s ignition was accidental in nature. According to fire officials, the total suppression costs for putting out the Washington Fire to date are approximately $1.56 million.

The Washington Fire destroyed 19 structures total, 15 were residential structures, two were commercial, one was a mix residential/commercial structure and there was an additional minor structure. The fire, which ignited on August 26 at approximately 1:20pm in Jamestown and Sonora, scarred 136 acres. Evacuations orders directly impacted downtown Sonora, the hospital and Sonora Elementary School.

Clean up of the damage left behind is another cost as it needs to be done by trained professionals and includes removing household hazardous waste, and other hazardous debris. Officials must also assess ground stability on the fire-damaged slopes and identify mitigation measures that may be necessary. Tuolumne County Supervisors requested the state’s financial assistance as detailed here.

A photo gallery of Washington Street photos is here.

The Airola Fire burned 639 acres Parrotts Ferry Rd and Airola Rd, west of Columbia on August 25 and was contained September 4. The update today is the fire remains under investigation and total suppression costs for the Airola Fire are approximately $1.83 million.

CAL FIRE TCU continues to investigate the Washington and Airola fires and encourages individuals who may have information regarding them to contact San Andreas Headquarters at (209) 754-3831.

  • Airola Fire - Photo by Greg Stark CCSO
  • Airola Fire 8/27 Warnings and burned area