Fires

Update: Pioneer Fire evacuation orders downgraded

Crews continue to run burnout operations around the Pioneer Fire to keep it from spreading farther, as seen in this Wednesday photo.
Crews continue to run burnout operations around the Pioneer Fire to keep it from spreading farther, as seen in this Wednesday photo.

The Pioneer Fire is estimated to be burning 102,746 acres of tinder near Lowman and Idaho City, according to fire managers via Inciweb.

Nearly 1,850 people are working on the blaze, using 13 helicopters, 89 engines, nine bulldozers, 36 water tenders and seven masticators.

Containment continues to drop. By Thursday, containment went down 2 percent from the previous day, to 38 percent. The fire started July 18; it reached a peak of 50 percent containment earlier this month, but that started to decline Sunday as the fire moved north, said fire information officer Jerry Rohnert.

Full containment isn’t expected until at least the end of September, when early storms may help extinguish the flames.

The fire grew rapidly this week, by 7,000 acres on Tuesday, and crews have had challenges regaining the lost ground.

Highways 17 and 21 are back open to the public, but residents in the area are still living under evacuation orders. All homes in the Lowman and Pioneerville area are under a Level 1 evacuation, which means residents should be prepared to leave. Folks living along the South Fork Road, east of Grimes Pass Road, those living along the South Fork Payette River, people staying in the Long Creek area and residents on Clear Creek Road had been under a Level 2 evacuation, under which leaving is highly suggested but not mandatory. But that order was downgraded to a Level 1 order by Thursday afternoon.

Community meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Placerville Plaza and 7 p.m. Saturday at Fire Station 80, according to fire managers.

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