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Update Butte Fire: Homes In Ruin Increase

Update at 8pm: The number of homes destroyed from the Butte Fire flames jumped to 365 residences and 261 outbuildings with an additional 26 structures damaged. However, firefighters are making progress as containment hits 55% and the fire’s size sticks to 70,760 acres. Cal Fire Command reports the fire behavior remained minimal during the day on Thursday, which aided firefighters working to expedite re-population. Butte Fire Public Information Officer Hugo Patrino reports on overnight goals, saying, “In terms of fire suppression, the fire itself is not really blazing like it was several days ago but there is still a lot of heat inside the perimeter. We are going to continue working on mopping up around the perimeter and homes…so we can insure that it is safe for evacuees to return home.” Fire officials caution fire areas and surrounding communities will still be filled with  plenty of smoke. Additionally, utilities, such as water, sewer and electrical may not be restored for at least a week.

The number of resources have dropped to 4,312 personnel, 413 engines, 54 water tenders, 92 hand crews, and 59 dozers. As for air resources, 10 helicopters and 5 air tankers remain.

Here are the remaining mandatory evacuation areas and road closures from Cal Fire:

Evacuations: All areas inside the fire perimeter, South of Calaveras River, including:

(Mountain Ranch Community):

  • All areas and roads South of Mountain Ranch Rd and Sheep Ranch Rd inside the fire perimeter.
  • All areas and roads East of the intersection of Mountain Ranch Road and Upper Michel Road inside the fire perimeter.

 (Jesus Maria Community):

  • All areas of Jesus Maria are under Mandatory Evacuation EXCEPT for the following (the following areas are open):
  1. Hawver Road: Hawver Road from Goldstrike Road to the intersection of Hawver and Doster Road.
  2. Hawver Road and Oakendell.
  3. West Murray Creek Road to Nikki Trail, Sierra Vista Lookout to the intersection of Doster Road. From the intersection of Sierra Vista Lookout Road and Doster Road east to East Murray Creek Road. To include: Crooked Springs Lane, Immaculate Drive and Murraydale Lane.
  4. All areas east of the intersection of Jesus Maria Road and Ponderosa to Railroad Flat Road. To include: Smith Road, Rolling Oaks Drive, all of the Cedar Way, Shawnee Trail, Kerstan Way, Buttondown Lane, Springlake Road, Red Plow Court, Old Greek Mine, East Rainbow Road, West Rainbow Road, Sequoia Road, Vista Way, Shadow Pine Lane, Creations Way, Betty K Lane, Edward Court, Shine Way, Baker Riley Way, Penny Way, Old Prospector Trail, Worden Road from the intersection of Jesus Maria to Quail Run including Spring Gulch, Rabbit Run, and any street east of the intersection of Jesus Maria Road.
  5. Ponderosa to Railroad Flat Road.

Road Closures: Ponderosa Road at the burned area; Railroad Flat Road closed to Mountain Ranch Road; Michel Road; Sheep Ranch Road at Fricot City Road; Sheep Ranch Road at Mountain Ranch Road; Railroad Ranch Road at Jesus Maria; Swiss Ranch Road at Railroad Flat Road; Jesus Maria Road at SR 26, Ponderosa Way at SR 26; Hawver Road at Doster Road; West Murray Creek to 44 Ranch; Doster Road approximately 1 mile North of Sierra Vista Lookout Road; Jesus Maria at Whiskey Slide; Cave City Road at Michel Road; Whiskey Slide Road at Worden Road; Mountain Ranch Road at Upper Michel Road; Lower Michel Road at Mountain Ranch Road.

Update 6:30pm: Cal Fire reports the Butte Fire containment hits the half way mark. It is now 55% contained and the acreage remains 70,760.

Update at 5:30pm: The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has set up a temporary hotline for notifying law enforcement of possible missing persons related to the Butte Fire.The number to call is (209) 754-6345. Sheriff’s officials stress the number is not to request a welfare check on a person. Additionally, they ask that all non-fire related missing person reports be made to the Dispatch Center at 209 754-6500.

New information on cleanup and recycling has also been released by the County Environmental Health and Public Works departments, which have teamed up with Cal Recycle and the state to aid property owners with safe removal and handling of burn debris and ash. As a result of the Proclamation by the Health Officer of the existence of hazardous waste and public health hazards, no ash or debris can be removed prior to the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) performing an onsite property inspection.  Property owners must sign a “Right of Entry” form allowing assessment personnel to visit the property.  Forms are available at the Calaveras Local Assistance Center or click here. For more details, call 209 754-6399.

Additionally, Cal-Waste has provided food waste bins at these locations:

Mokelumne Hill

  • Wendells
  • Hwy 26 near Italian Vista Rd

Mountain Ranch

  • Senders Market
  • Corner of Whiskey Slide Rd & Mountain Ranch Rd at the Park Entrance

Railroad Flat

  • Corner of Mountain Ranch Rd & Sheep Ranch Rd.
  • Railroad Flat General Store
  • Corner of Swiss Ranch Rd. & Railroad Flat Rd.

San Andreas

  • Corner of Calaveritas Rd & Calaveritas St.

Update at 11:15am: The Calaveras County Coroner’s Office has now identified both Calaveras County residents that died as a result of the Butte Fire.

80-year-old Owen Goldsmith was found dead in the M-24 subdivision along Eagle View Drive. Yesterday the Coroner’s Office identified the other victim as 65-year-old Mark McCLoud who resided on Baker Riley Road.

Update at 10:50am: CAL Fire reports that the following areas were most recently changed from “evacuation order” to “evacuation advisory.” The information below is courtesy of CAL Fire:

Now an evacuation advisory

1) The areas along Mountain Ranch Road east of Mills Ave to Upper Michel Road. To include: Lucky Jim Mine Road, Coachman Way, Del Sol Lane, Willow Creek Road, Blacktail Creek Road, Dansby Lane, Demoss Lane. Michel Road from the intersection of Mountain Ranch Road to Cave City Road (Upper Michel Road and Cave City Road closed at the intersection)

2) Hawver Road: Hawver Road from Goldstrike Road to the intersection of Hawver and Doster Road.

3) Hollow Road and Oakendell.

4) West Murray Creek Road to Nikki Trail, Sierra Vista Lookout to the intersection of Doster Road. From the intersection of Sierra Vista Lookout Toad and Doster Road east to East Murray Creek Road. To include: Crooked Springs Lane, Immaculate Drive and Murraydale Lane.

5) All areas east of the intersection of Jesus Maria Road and Ponderosa to Railroad Flat Road. To include: Smith Road, Rolling Oaks Drive, all of the Cedar Way, Shawnee Trail, Kerstan Way, Buttondown Lane, Springlake Road, Red Plow Court, Old Greek Mine, East Rainbow Road, West Rainbow Road, Sequoia Road, Vista Way, Shadow Pine Lane, Creations Way, Betty K Lane, Edward Court, Shine Way, Baker Riley Way, Penny Way, Old Prospector Trail, Worden Road from the intersection of Jesus Maria to Quail Run including Spring Gulch, Rabbit Run, and any street east of the intersection of Jesus Maria Road.

6) Ponderosa to Railroad Flat Road.

The public is reminded to use caution as electrical service and other utilities such as water and sewer may not be restored for up to a week.

Additional Road Closures

* Ponderosa Road at the burned area

* SR-26 at Ponderosa Road

* Hawver Road at Doster Road

* West Murray Creek Road to 44 Ranch

* Doster Road approximately 1 mile north of Sierra vista Lookout Road

* Jesus Maria at Whiskey Slide

* Cave City Road at Michel Road

* Whiskey Slide Road at Worden Road

* Mountain Ranch Road at Upper Michel Road

Update at 10am: Firefighters will work throughout the day continuing to mop-up the Butte Fire and aggressively build stronger containment lines.

Butte Fire spokesperson Hugo Patrino says, “We are making progress and things are getting better. Right now, the major fire front is over. What we do have are a lot of hot spots within the perimeter that crews still need to get in and mop up and make the areas safe so that citizens can come back home. That’s our number one goal, to get everyone back home.”

Within the next couple of days a high pressure weather system is expected to move back into the fire area, and temperatures will rise into the 90’s this weekend.

Patrino notes, “We are working feverishly right now to mop up the perimeter some 300 ft. from the fire’s edge in, and also around homes, to reduce the possibility of any flare-ups.”

As first reported earlier this morning, the fire is 70,760 acres and 49% contained. Full containment is anticipated by September 24.

Update at 7:15am: CAL Fire is now anticipating that the Butte Fire will be fully contained one week from today, September 24.

The fire is 70,760 acres and 49% contained. 4,400 firefighters are still assigned to the incident this morning. There are 429 engines, 56 water tenders, 10 helicopters, six air tankers, 92 hand crews and 69 dozers. Two residents have died in the fire. The incident command reports that fire behavior remained minimal overnight within the fire perimeter. Favorable weather allowed firefighters to continue to build a strong perimeter line.

CAL Fire reports that the following road closures remain in effect: Highway 26 from Mokelumne Hill to Ridge Road; Ridge Road closed to Railroad Flat Road; Railroad Flat Road closed to Mountain Ranch Road; Mountain Ranch Road closed to Hwy 49; Michel Road is closed.

Also of note, Clarke Broadcasting has been notified that several community members are planning to line downtown Angels Camp with thank you signs for firefighters, from 8-10am, as the firefighters leave for the day’s assignments.

To read a rundown of yesterday’s Butte Fire stories, click here.

For Continuing Butte Fire information read September 18th’s Butte fire news story here.