By GLENN KAHL
Four City of Manteca firefighters left Manteca for the Lowell Fire near Alta along Interstate 80 in Placer County in the predawn hours Sunday.
As of 8 p.m. Monday, 1,700 acres had already burned in the blaze that Cal Fire says is only 25 percent contained. The biggest concern is 1,800 structures that are threatened in both Placer and Nevada counties.
There are mandatory evacuations in place for the fire that isn’t expected to be contained until Saturday at the earliest.
Four firefighters were injured Sunday while fighting the blaze suffering primarily burns. Three have already been released while the fourth has serious burns.
There are 2,048 firefighters on the fire, 187 fire engines, 52 fire crews, seven air tankers, 18 helicopters, 46 bulldozers, and 15 water tenders.
The next four days of 100 degree heat coupled with low humidity plus access challenges is expected to make it tough to attack the blaze.
Manteca’s three firefighters and one captain reported to the fire in the green Office of Emergency Services truck used mainly for vegetation fires plaguing California’s forest lands.
Captain Bill Kenfield was joined by engineer Jeff Barr and firefighters Traig Smith and Chris Jones. They represented two Manteca Fire Stations – One and Four. Battalion Chief Kyle Shipherd said it took the men some three to four hours to reach the location west of Alta in the mountains the northeast of Sacramento after leaving their stations at 1 a.m.
The men reported to Division B where they were assigned to structure defense. Chief Shipherd noted the upcoming heat spell that will come into the area mid-week that will challenge their firefighting abilities.
He expected them to be on the fire line for at least seven days depending on the conditions. Should fire conditions worsen, they could remain on the fire line for as long as 14 days, he said.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com or call 209.249.3539.