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Fire at busy wood chipping plant means acres and acres of potential burn.

“What you have with that saw dust is just a giant pile of smoldering debris at this point. It has a high potential for rekindle,” said John Hotchkiss of CalFire.

So the Placer County Fire Department has a man out above it, perched on the top of their latter truck, trying to soak down the wood.

The owner of Mallard Creek Landscape Center says he walked his yard and checked it, just before going to lunch. Everything was fine.

About 45 minutes later, a tower of black smoke hovered above the yard.

“It was really thick. It was a few hundred feet in the air. It was billowing,” said Nick Degabriele.

Degariele was working at Extra Innings nearby. He sent his customers home and closed-up shop when he saw the trouble.

But so many other people came to look that fire engines had trouble getting through. Rocklin police had to clear the path.

But that’s not the only business nearby. That’s why firefighters say a quick and big response was important.

“In addition to this facility here, you have a propane yard. So there’s always he exposure risk to that. Lots of high dollar industry and lots of materials which are stored here. So the normal response is really built heavy,” Hotchkiss said.