Update at 10 pm: Cal Fire spokesperson Nancy Longmore reports the evacuation shelter in Angels Camp at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds is moving, At this hour, the 200 people in the facility are packing up and heading to the new sight, which is the Valley Springs Veterans Hall at 8747 Pine Street. The hall number is 925-588-6694 for all inquiries. Longmore notes pets are not allowed at the hall. Animals can be taken to the Calaveras County Animal Services at 901 Jeff Tuttle Drive in San Andreas. The number there is 209-754-6509.
Update at 9:30 pm: The flames of the Butte Fire have burned nearly 65,000 acre while the containment has dropped to 5% from 10%.
Six homes and two out buildings have been destroyed. Cal Fire spokesperson Nancy Longmore expects that number to jump. She says, “We’ve got 6,400 structures threatened. Were still going with eight structures destroyed, but they’re likely more that got lost. Those eight are the ones that are confirmed. We’re having a damage assessment team arriving tomorrow.”
There are 2,409 firefighters battling the blaze. Other resources include 246 engines, 63 fire crews, 8 air tankers, 17 helicopters, 40 dozers and water tenders. Cal Fire reports the top priority tonight for crews will be structure protection and getting more containment. “The big obstacles are working in the dark along with steep and rocky terrain,” says Longmore. “There’s always a threat of falling trees and stepping in burning stump holes.”
The flames moved rapidly and there was uncontrollable fire growth to the south and east throughout the day on Friday, according to Cal Fire.
Update at 7 pm: Cal Fire reports the acreage burned in the Butte Fire has grown to 64,728 while the containment has dropped to 5%.
Update at 6:30 pm: PG&E is reporting more customers in Calaveras County are without power due to the Butte Fire. A total of 11,128 customers are without electricity this evening between Amador and Calaveras counties. The latter has 2,339 residents without lights in the areas of Mokelumne Hill and Glencoe. 1,332 in the Mountain Ranch area and 426 east of San Andreas near Calaveritas. As reported earlier, in the areas of West Point, Rail Road Flat, and Wilseyville there are 2,210 customers without lights. In Amador County, the areas of Pine Grove, Volcano, and Pioneer have 4,974 customers still in the dark. The company has give an estimated repair time of Saturday at 8 pm.
Update at 5pm: Sonora Regional Medical Center is making arrangements to potentially take in Mark Twain Medical Center patients, if the need arises. SRMC Spokesperson Gail Witzlsteiner says Mark Twain Medical Center’s 80-bed long-term care unit is the area of concern. Witzlsteiner says SRMC staff will be working this weekend, to prepare, in the event it becomes necessary.
Update at 4:15pm: Both CAL Fire and the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office announced individually this afternoon that the community of San Andreas was being placed under a mandatory evacuation notice. CAL Fire spokesperson Nancy Longmore now says that the information has changed, and San Andreas residents are currently not under an evacuation order. There is an evacuation order east of Gold Strike Road, near San Andreas, going toward Mokelumne Hill. The other evacuation orders referenced earlier remain in place.
Update at 3:50pm: Governor Jerry Brown has placed his signature on a “State of Emergency” declaration for the Butte Fire. It allows for additional state resources and funding. The California National Guard will mobilize to support disaster response and relief efforts.
Update at 3:45pm: Several population centers in Calaveras County remain under an evacuation order. Areas added this afternoon include San Andreas, Mountain Ranch, Calaveritas, Cave City, and along Highway 4 from Murphys Grade Road to Avery. Areas in Angels Camp under an evacuation order include Murphys Grade Road, Gardner Lane, Holly Street, Casey Street, Easy Street, Kirby Street, Country Lane, Elderberry Lane, Dogtown Road, Clifton Road and Brunner Hill.
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Update at 3:05pm: The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office reports that Vallecito school district children have been evacuated and taken to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. Parents will need to pick up the students at the evacuation center.
Update at 3pm: The Calaveras County Administrator’s Office reports that two Butte Fire town hall meetings are planned for Saturday afternoon. The first will run from 1-3pm at the Calaveras High School Gymnasium, and the second from 4-6pm in the Bret Harte High School multi-purpose room. All of the early referenced evacuation notices remain in effect.
Update at 2:50pm: CAL Fire reports that the Butte Fire has grown to over 50,000 acres and it is 10% contained. The evacuation orders listed below remain the same.
Update at 1:35pm: The Angels Camp Police Department has added many areas of Angels Camp to the “mandatory evacuation” list. Included are Murphys Grade Road, Gardner Lane, Holly Street, Casey Street, Easy Street, Kirby Street, Country Lane, Elderberry Lane, Dogtown Road, Clifton Road and Brunner Hill.
Additionally, Bret Hart Union High School District is evacuating and transporting students to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. Buses will still take students to Copperopolis, but all other students must be picked up at the fairgrounds.
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Update at 1:10pm: The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has issued a “mandatory evacuation order” for several areas east of Highway 49 in Calaveras County. The Sheriff’s Office reports that it includes communities east of Highway 49, starting near Calaveritas, and stretching north to include San Andreas, and then continuing up to the Amador County line. In addition, the evacuation order includes areas like Mountain Ranch, Sheep Ranch and Cave City, and stretches over to Highway 4, starting at Murphys Grade, and continuing up Highway 4 to Avery. Once it gets into the Arnold area, it turns into an “advisory evacuation” notice. The Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents in the communities listed to leave the area. Anyone that needs help with livestock or animals should call the Sheriff’s Office at 754-6500.
Update at 12:20pm: The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has issued an “advisory evacuation notice” for the community of Arnold. The Sheriff’s Office emphasizes that it is advisory at this time, and residents need to be prepared if the fire approaches.
Update at 10:45am: The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has just issued a mandatory evacuation order for the Oak Park Estates, in the unincorporated area of Calaveras County, stretching north to Mountain Ranch Road.
Update at 10:20am: Over 1,570 firefighters are now assigned to the Butte Fire burning in Calaveras and Amador Counties.
Public Information Officer Mike Yeun says the Incident Command structure has now transitioned to a large CAL Fire Type 1 management team, and additional resources are arriving hourly. Cooperating agencies include CAL OES, the Forest Service, BLM, PG&E, Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, Amador County Sheriff’s Office, Red Cross, Caltrans, CA State Parks and the Amador Fire Protection District. There are now 178 engines, seven water tenders, 16 helicopters, seven air tankers, 38 hand crews, and 21 dozers.
Eight homes have now been destroyed and 6,000 structures are threatened.
Columbia College is closing at 1pm this afternoon due to smoke.
The following Calaveras road closures are in place according to the CHP:
Hwy-26 closed at Hwy-49 (Mokelumne Hill) to Ridge Road (Glencoe)
Ridge Road closed at Hwy-26 (Glencoe) to Railroad Flat Road (Railroad Flat)
Railroad Flat Road closed at Ridge Road (Railroad Flat) to Sheep Ranch Road (Mt. Ranch)
Mountain Ranch Road closed at Sheep Ranch Road (Mt. Ranch) to Mills Road (San Andreas)
Cal Fire has released the following information about Mandatory evacuations:
Evacuations: (Amador County) Canyon View, Fig Tree Lane, and Ponderosa Way; The Town of Pine Grove to include all areas South of Hwy 88 at Ranch Road and East of West Clinton and Easy Bird Road, Sierra Lane, Thadeus Court, Center Street; SR 26 from Hwy 49 to Railroad Flat to include all sides of the street; Jesus Maria from Hwy 26 to Railroad Flat to include all side streets North of Jesus Maria and South to Doster Rd/West Murray Creek Road and East of Hawver Road.
(Calaveras County) Communities of Glencoe and Wilseyville; Lower Dorray Road; Jesus Maria from Hwy 26 to Railroad Flat to include all side streets North of Jesus Maria and South to Doster Road/West Murray Creek Road and East of Hawver Road; Ridge Road North to SR 26, Associated Office Road, Woodhouse Mine with Railroad Flat as Eastern Boundary; Hawver Road at Gold Strike East to Doster Road; Whiskey Slide Road North of Mountain Ranch Road to Jesus Maria/Whiskey Slide East to Railroad Flat Road.
CAL Fire says the following areas are under an evacuation warning and should be prepared to leave if conditions worsen:
Evacuation Warnings: (Calaveras County) Town of Mountain Ranch South of Mountain Ranch Road and Alpine areas of Mountain Ranch; Sierra Vista Lookout Road, West Murray Creek Road to Doster Road, Murray Dale Lane (entire road); Leonard Road Subdivision.
Update at 10:05am: Sonora High School’s football game is being moved to Hilmar this evening, due to the smoke.
Update at 8:55am: Bret Harte High School’s football game tonight has been moved to Escalon. The JV game will start at 5:30 and the varsity game at 7:30. The venue change is due to concerns about air quality. That is the only venue change that has been announced to this point. Sonora High is still planning to play at home against Hilmar. Calaveras High will be on the road traveling to Modesto Christian and Summerville will play at Bradshaw Christian.
Also of note, the Tuolumne County Republicans have postponed Sunday’s planned Patriots Picnic at the Hurst Ranch.
Tonight’s Angels Camp Farmers Market is canceled.
Update at 7:40am: CAL Fire has just released updated information about the evacuation warnings and orders due to the Butte Fire. It reads as follows:
Additional Evacuation Warnings For Calaveras County:
Town of Mountain Ranch South of Mountain Ranch Rd and Alpine Areas of Mountain Ranch; Sierra Vista Lookout Rd., West Murray Creek Rd. to Doster Rd., Murray Dale Lane (Entire Road); Leonard Rd Subdivision.
Previous Evacuation Warnings for Calaveras County still in effect:
Mokelumne Hill (with exception of Easy Bird Road, Sierra Lane, Thadeus Court, Center Street which are under mandatory evacuation order)
Additional Road Closures:
(Calaveras County) Railroad Flat at Sheep Ranch Rd.; Mountain Ranch at Whiskey Slide; Independence and Railroad Flat.
Evacuations in Amador County:
Canyon View, Fig Tree Lane, and Ponderosa Way; The Town of Pine Grove to include all areas South of Hwy 88 at Ranch Road and East of West Clinton and East Bird Road, Sierra Lane, Thadeus Court, Center Street; SR 26 from Hwy 49 to Railroad Flat to include all sides of the street; Jesus Maria from Hwy 26 to Railroad Flat to include all sides of the streets North of Jesus Maria and South to Doster Rd.
Update at 7:10am: CAL Fire statewide spokesperson Daniel Berlant reports that the Butte Fire is now 31,974 acres. It remains 10% contained.
Original Story at 6am: CAL Fire reports that a major challenge in fighting the Butte Fire is that much of the strategy has had to focus on structure protection, due to the number of nearby homes, and less on containing the perimeter.
Fire crews have also been facing steep and difficult terrain. Eight structures have been destroyed and 1,500 are threatened. Due to the fire, all schools in the Calaveras Unified School District are closed today. That includes Calaveras High, Toyon Middle School, Jenny Lind Elementary, San Andreas Elementary, Valley Springs Elementary, West Point Elementary, Mokelumne Hill Elementary, Railroad Flat Elementary, and the Alternative Education program. Meanwhile, Amador County has canceled classes at all schools. Calaveras High will still travel to Modesto Christian this evening for its high school football game.
The latest estimate is that the Butte Fire is 14,700 acres and 10% contained. A new size estimate will be released sometime after the morning briefing.
In Calaveras County, evacuation orders are in effect for the area of Highway 26, from Highway 49 to Railroad Flat, including all the side streets. Jesus Maria is also evacuated, from Highway 26 to Railroad Flat, including all side streets north of Jesus Maria and south to Doster Road. An evacuation warning is still in effect for all of Mokelumne Hill, and residents should be prepared to leave if conditions worsen.
Evacuation centers are open at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds, San Andreas Town Hall and the Jackson Rancheria Hotel. 805 firefighters are assigned to the incident, as well as 82 engines, four water tenders, 16 helicopters, seven air tankers, 24 hand crews and eight dozers.
PG&E also reports that thousands remain without electricity near the fire area.
Click here for day four Butte Fire information.
Click here for a rundown of yesterday’s fire stories.
Click here to read a story about concerns related to the smoke.