NEVADA COUNTY --
Firefighters continue to fight the fast moving Lowell Fire. As of Sunday evening, Cal Fire said the blaze was downgraded to 1,500 acres, and 15 percent contained. Also according to Cal Fire, four firefighters were injured from fighting the flames on Sunday.
“That one over there looks pretty scary,” Ben Peterson, who lives near You Bet Road, said, while pointing at the huge plume of smoke. “As long as they get it contained, that's great.”
What’s not so great is if the Lowell Fire travels a mile westward toward Peterson’s home. He and his neighbors were evacuated Saturday. But he was hoping to ride out the fire as he monitored it from a distant vantage point.
“We're just hoping it doesn’t hop. If it does, that's when it gets scary,” Peterson said.
Aircraft of all different shapes and sizes crossed the sky, dropping pink fire retardant and water from nearby Rollins Lake.
“We are hitting it hard with the aircraft, and we have plenty of crews out there on the ground,” Cal Fire Spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff said. “Our main priority is to keep this fire from spreading. Once we get that done, we would be able to step back and go take a look and see what damage has been done.”
Fire crews said it is not easy. Down the valley, winds can be unpredictable. So flames jumped over hand lines.
“Once it jumps that line, it's beyond that control point and they have to go back and track it,” Tolmachoff said.
That was what scared Peterson the most. He already moved his horses and house pets to a friend’s home in town. Everything else is packed in his truck.
“Everybody that lives in the area needs to pay attention, listen and watch for things and just be prepared to leave if the call should come,” Tolmachoff said.
“I have all the basic necessities stuff to get by,” Peterson said while pointing at his belongings in his truck. “We got shovels and axes in case. We got a chainsaw, and we are all set to get out of here.”