- Nov 16, 2004
MASSIVE WILDFIRE SCORCHES 6,400 ACRES IN JACKSON HIGHWAY INCIDENT
SAC METRO FIRE CAPTAIN SEVERELY INJURED WHEN OVERRUN BY FAST MOVING FLAMES
At 12:12 this afternoon Sac Metro fire fighters were dispatched to a reported grass fire near the intersection of Jackson Highway and Bradshaw Road. First arriving units found a fast moving grass fire on the south side of Jackson Highway approximately 1/2 mile east of Bradshaw Road. The flames were rapidly spreading to the south-east being driven by sustained winds out of the north-west in excess of 20 miles per hour, intermittent with gusts over 40 miles per hour. A second alarm was immediately requested with additional apparatus and personnel rushing to the scene. A combination of dry vegetation, low humidity, rising temperatures and extreme wind conditions combined to cause the fire to rapidly spread to the south-east. Sacramento area fire agencies involved in the ! incident included Sac Metro Fire, Sac City Fire, Cosumnes Fire, Wilton Fire, Herald Fire, West Sac Fire and Folsom Fire. Cal Fire was called in very early in the incident as well as 5 strike teams being requested through Region 4 of O.E.S.. The strike teams requested included 2 from San Joaquin County, 1 from Yolo County, 1 from El Dorado County and 1 from Nevada County. At the peak of operations there were over 200 fire personnel actively involved in the effort to bring the wildfire under control, with the following fire apparatus committed to the incident: 17 grass rigs, 14 engine companies, 6 water tenders, 1 truck company, 4 medics (ambulances), 2 dozers, 2 helicopters, 1 air attack unit, 1 air tanker, and 2 rehab units. It took approximately four hours to stop the rapid, forward spread of the conflagration when it was finally halted near Grant Line Road and Calvine Road.
During the early stages of the incident, a Sac Metro fire captain was! severely injured while attempting to protect a mobile home that was t hreatened by the rapidly approaching fire. The three-person crew had taken a position near the mobile home, deployed a hose line and were attempting to prevent the ignition of the home as the wildfire was raging nearby. A sudden and severe shift in the wind's direction and velocity accelerated the flame front directly towards the fire crew. The engineer and fire fighter were able to find safety inside the cab of their fire engine. Unfortunately the fire captain was unable to reach safety and was burned over by the flames. The 21-year veteran of Sac Metro Fire suffered third degree burns to his hands and second degree burns to his forearms. He was transported code 3 to Mercy General Hospital before being transferred to the burn unit at UC Davis Medical Center.
The estimated size of the burned area is 6,400 acres. At least 10 structures were confirmed to be destroyed, two of which were homes, with the majority being outbuildings. An assessment is in process to de! termine the total number of structures damaged or destroyed, but the results are not expected anytime soon. The strike teams have been released along with the majority of non-Sac Metro fire fighters. At this time there is no significant active fire, and a containment line has been cut around 65% of the burn area. The primary concern is the possibility that embers and brands in the burn area will be carried across the containment line by winds and cause flare ups. Dozens of fire fighters will remain at the fire scene throughout the night and into tomorrow performing overhaul operations and working the burn area until all remaining hot spots and smoldering debris piles are completely extinguished and cool.