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Update: Tuesday’s Copperopolis Aero Fire Details

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An updated story can be found here.

Update at 7:15 p.m.: PG&E crews have made progress on power outages that resulted from the Aero Fire. This morning, around 4,000 customers in the Copperopolis and Angels Camp areas of Calaveras County were without power, and tonight that number has dropped significantly. Currently, there are 225 customers still without electricity. The estimated restoration time for most is 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 19.

Update at 6:30 p.m.: CAL Fire reports that the size of the Aero Fire, burning along Rock Creek Road and Highway 4 in the Copperopolis area of Calaveras County, has decreased by 176 acres to 5,249 acres due to better mapping and remains 20% contained. Three structures have been destroyed and one damaged, with 3,690 still threatened. There have been no injuries.

Resources at the scene are 43 engines, 9 water tenders, 9 dozers, 12 hand crews, and 30 others, for a total of 370 personnel. The road closures, evacuations, and shelter information remain the same and can be found at the bottom of this page.

Update at 2:50 p.m.: An Air Quality Advisory has been issued due to the Aero Fire by Calaveras County Public Health and Air Pollution Control District into this evening.

The joint air quality advisory is to notify the public of the potential for poor air quality conditions due to the smoke from the blaze in the Copperopolis area of Calaveras County. According to county officials, smoke may affect all areas of Calaveras County, from the lower foothills up into the high country area, dependent upon wind direction, until the fire is extinguished. They advise, “This extended advisory shall remain in effect until Tuesday, June 18, at 10 p.m. and may be further extended depending on conditions. Smoke concentrations vary across the county and may be severe in multiple locations over several days.”

Air Quality Advisory Issued by Calaveras County Public Health and Air Pollution Control District for Aero Fire burning in Calaveras County
Air Quality Advisory Issued by Calaveras County Public Health and Air Pollution Control District for Aero Fire burning in Calaveras County

During the evening, the public is advised that shifting overnight winds may cause sudden increases in smoke concentration while asleep. Residents are urged to consider keeping the windows closed to keep out the smoky air. Today, an Air Quality Index (AQI) of 127 for Copperopolis, creates unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups. The chart in the image box shows health recommendations for each AQI level. To find out the AQI in your area, click here. For safety tips and varying symptoms due to smoke, click here.

Update written by BJ Hansen at 10:22 am: As the Aero Fire continues to burn in Calaveras County near Copperopolis, neighboring Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services Assistant Director Dore Bietz provided an update on the response at today’s TC Board of Supervisors meeting.

She recapped that the fire is 5,425 acres and 20% contained.

Bietz stated, “We are hoping the winds have died down, and we are hoping that we have a reprieve (from winds) like what we had overnight.”

Crews were able to do some positive work during that time to gain containment.

Bietz noted that Tuolumne County staff, including the sheriff’s office, OES, and animal control all supported the effort from the beginning of the fire. Calaveras County had initially contacted Tuolumne County about potentially opening an evacuation shelter, but it turned out that it was not needed.

Bietz added, “We want to make sure that folks are paying attention because there is still obviously an evacuation warning on our side on O’Byrnes Ferry Road outside of the Lake Tulloch area.”

She stressed that people should sign up this time of year for the county’s Everbridge alerts in the event that evacuations are called for during the fire season.

Update at 6:55 am: CAL Fire reports that three structures have been destroyed by the Aero Fire and 3,690 remain threatened. The acreage estimate has been updated to 5,425.

The incident command team reports, “Firefighters had a small decrease in winds and an increase in relative humidity overnight that assisted crews with construction of fire line. The Aero Fire is burning in an area that has not experienced a large fire since 2003 and is burning in grass and oak woodlands.”

There are currently 370 firefighters assigned to the incident, 43 engines, nine water tenders, nine dozers and 12 hand crews.

Update at 6:20 am: Some containment was gained overnight battling the Aero Fire in Copperopolis. CAL Fire reports this morning that the blaze is 5,245 acres and there is 20% containment. Air and ground resources will remain busy throughout the day. The earlier announced road closures and evacuation orders/warnings remain in place.

Update at 6:02 am: PG&E reports that there are still over 5,000 customers without electricity related to the Aero Fire in Copperopolis. The outage encompasses areas of Copperopolis, Angels Camp, and up into Murphys. PG&E reports there is currently no estimated restoration time.

Original story posted at 5:29 am: Copperopolis, CA – The Aero Fire that ignited near Aero Road and Hunt Road, North of Copperopolis on Monday afternoon, is estimated to be 5,009 acres with no containment.

Summer school is closed today (Tuesday) at both Mark Twain Elementary and Bret Harte High School due to the fire. All special education programs are also closed. School will remain closed on Wednesday due to the Juneteenth holiday.

The Calaveras County Office of Emergency Services has set up an Aero Fire information phone line at 209-754-6777.

Calaveras County Road Closures: Highway 4 at Little John Road (O’Byrnes Ferry) is closed. Pool Station Road at Highway 4 remains closed. Hunt Road at Milton Road, Salt Springs Valley Road, Felix Road, and Rock Creek Road are also closed.

Tuolumne County Road Closures: O’Byrnes Ferry Road is closed at Highway 108/120. If you are a resident or employee of a business on the Tuolumne County side, you will be allowed to pass through with an ID.

Evacuation Order: The areas of Copper Town Square and Obyrnes Ferry Road to the county line are under an evacuation order. All residents are ordered to immediately evacuate.

Evacuation Warning: Tuolumne County along O’Byrnes Ferry Road is under a warning from the county line to Highway 108/120.

Click here to view the latest evacuation maps.

Evacuation shelters are open at the Mark Twain Elementary School in Angels Camp, the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton and the Valley Springs Veterans Hall.

Livestock can be taken to the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Update this story throughout the day for the latest information on the Aero Fire.

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