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Lathrop Manteca firefighter trio battling Plumas wildfire
plumas wildfire
Two Lathrop Manteca Firefighters watch the fire line advance on a federally-managed fire on the edge of the Plumas National Forest near the California-Nevada border. The agency currently has three firefighters deployed as part of a mutual aid strike team.

Three Lathrop Manteca firefighters are currently deployed to Northeastern California to render mutual aid on a forest fire that has burned more than 100,000 acres on the outskirts of the Plumas National Forest on the border with Nevada.

And fire officials are preparing to send a lot more by the end of the 2021 fire season to destinations not just throughout California, but the Western United States.

According to Lathrop Manteca Division Chief Larry Madoski, late August is looking like it could be the time when fires throughout the West start raging as indicated by large fires in Oregon and Northern California that have started to pull on resources from throughout California’s fire chain.

Extremely high temperatures coupled with low humidity and extremely dry conditions – exacerbated by California’s current drought – are setting the stage for what could be another record-breaking fire season.

The three Lathrop Manteca Firefighters were initially deployed to the Lava Fire in Southern Oregon before being sent over to the Salt Fire – just north of Whiskeytown Lake in the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area – and eventually the Beckwourth Complex Fire near the California-Nevada border.

The Beckwourth Complex Fire is a combination of the Sugar Fire and the Dotta Fire, and is the second forest fire burning in the area – the Dixie Fire, on the opposite side of the forest, has scored more than 40,000 acres, and on Sunday it was learned that Pacific Gas and Electric Company reported to the California Public Utilities Commission that the fire may have been started when a tree leaned into a conductor and resulted in several blown fuses and a small fire at the base of the pole.

The Dixie Fire is currently burning along the Feather River Scenic Byway – State Highway 70 – and the western edge of the fire is not far from where the Camp Fire, which was also caused by faulty PG&E equipment, destroyed nearly the entire town of Paradise in 2018.

According to Madoski, the late summer season is typically the most active for local firefighters that get deployed to forest fires throughout the parched Western United States – aided in no small part by the onset of the Santa Ana winds in Southern California and the red flag warning conditions that are common in Northern California.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.