Cal Fire

Lowell Fire Injures 4 Firefighters, About 15 Percent Contained

A fast-moving fire that prompted evacuations near Tahoe was downgraded Sunday to about 1,500 acres.

Authorities reported four injuries on Sunday. Two Cal Fire and two U.S. Forest Service firefighters suffered burn injuries. All are being treated at UC Davis Burn Center in Sacramento.

Both Cal Fire personnel and one USFS firefighters are expected to be released from the hospital Sunday night. The remaining USFS firefighter is being treated for serious burn injuries.

Cal Fire said 1,800 structures are threatened in Placer and Nevada counties due to the fire.

On Saturday, Cal Fire officials said that the Lowell fire scorched roughly 4,000 acres in the Steep Hollow drainage area west of Alta near Placer County in northeast California. But the acreage was reduced due to "more accurate mapping," officials said in a tweet, adding that the blaze is 15 percent contained.

The Lowell fire was the second multi-thousand-acre brushfire burning in Northern California this weekend, following the 6,900-acre Wragg Fire smoldering between San Francisco and Sacramento.

Access to the fire, which sparked at 2:37 p.m. Saturday, is very challenging, a Cal Fire representative said, adding that 1,111 fire personnel are battling the blaze.

The Placer and Nevada County Sheriff’s offices are asking the public for help in identifying a vehicle of interest that may have caused the fire, Cal Fire said. The 4 x 4 white jeep Wrangler was found in the area without a top, no front doors and a black roll bar around 2:30 p.m.

Anyone with information about the vehicle is encouraged to call the Placer or Nevada County Sheriff’s department.

Officials evacuated several communities by Saturday evening. Mandatory evacuations were underway for Red Dog, Chaulk Bluff and You Bet areas in Nevada County. Advisory evacuation was in place for the northeastern portion of Cascade Shores.
Chicago Park at Powerhouse Road, Diggins at Alta and Mando Road between Pasquale and Banner are closed, according to Cal Fire.

An evacuation center was opened at the Nevada Union High School on 11671 Ridge Road in Grass Valley, according to Cal Fire.

Cal Fire has activated one of its Serious Accident Review Teams to assess the incident.

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