YUBA COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — On the north side of the Rices Fire, just over the ridge, the Bullards Bar Reservoir is a popular place to go boating and camping over the Fourth of July holiday.

Aside from some fire crews using the campground to get some well-deserved rest, it’s empty Wednesday night as the holiday weekend approaches.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. The area is not part of the evacuation zone. Many houseboats anchor overnight in the reservoir while smaller boats come back to shore. The boat traffic was sparse on Wednesday.

“It was beautiful. Everyone come out because the weather is great, the water is wonderful,” boater Cindy Nardi said.

Nardi said her family’s outing was not affected by the fire that’s burning about two miles south of the lake.

“We can hardly smell the smoke at all,” Nardi said.

How often can someone go wakeboarding with a firefighting helicopter scooping down for water behind them? For Karleigh Ramos, she had a day she’ll never forget.

“The fires didn’t stop us,” Karleigh Ramos said.

Firefighting and recreation successfully existing side by side.

“It was great. The water was nice. The sun was out,” Ramos said.

The management of Bullards Bar Reservoir put a statement on Facebook making sure people know.

“All recreation and camping is still open and expected to be open for the whole weekend. The fire is just southwest of the dam. There is a large amount of aircraft attacking the fire to make sure it is not going to spread.”

Bullards Bar Reservoir

The fire behavior on Wednesday evening was much less intense than what was observed Tuesday. Highway 49 and the access roads to Bullards Bar Reservoir and its campgrounds were open.

“Yeah, all the roads were open. We were able to get in here safely, get out safely,” Ramos said.

“There aren’t a whole lot of people out here. So, we’d really love to see more people out here. Don’t be afraid to come,” Nardi said.

Cal Fire and the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department would have shut down the area if they deemed the fire a threat there.