Ponderosa Fire Tops 4,000 Acres, Destroys 32 Homes

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UPDATE: Investigators say the fire began as an illegal campfire. One person has been arrested.

BUTTE COUNTY -- Governor Brown issued a state of emergency Friday following the rapid destruction of homes and land from a fire burning in Butte County.

Cal Fire first reported the fire just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Ponderosa Fire (Credit: Cal Fire)

Several evacuation orders were lifted Friday and by Monday morning there were no evacuations in effect.


As of Sept. 8, the fire had spread to 4,016 acres and was 98 percent contained. At least 32 homes and 22 outbuildings were destroyed by the fire.

Two injuries have been reported.

Firefighters are working hard, cutting containment lines and putting out flames that continue to creep close to homes that are tucked away deep into the woods. The air attack is a key component in this firefight. Aircraft were up all day Wednesday until sunset making dozens of water and retardant drops per hour.

"Firefighters are having a hard time with containment based on the slope, the (low) relative humidity, and the high temperatures. The access is horrible at best. It's very hard to get to," said Cal Fire Capt. Joe Chavez.

In addition to hundreds of threatened homes, firefighters are working to protect a ceremonial site that is considered sacred to the Maidu tribe.

No injuries were reported by Wednesday morning.

A shelter has been set up at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville, 2238 Monte Vista Avenue. Small and large animal shelters have also been opened.

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