2017 Fire Season

NSPR aims to be your No. 1 source for the most accurate and comprehensive fire coverage in the North State. Here you will find all of our fire updates, including radio stories, live blogs, aggregated multimedia and more.

Have a fire tip for us? Or photos/video to share? Email nsprnews@csuchico.edu or tweet us @nsprnews.

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Jonathan Coke

A 29-year-old Oroville man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of starting the 2,500-acre Ponderosa Fire burning in the Sierra foothills of Butte County.

According to a Cal Fire press release, John Ballenger is suspected of “recklessly starting a campfire outside a designated campground and allowing it to escape.”

Wildfires in Oregon and northwestern California are causing significant air quality issues today.  

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued air quality alerts, declaring the air in Del Norte and parts of Trinity and Siskiyou Counties as "unhealthy."   

A lower level alert has also been issued for parts of Shasta County where the air quality is considered unsafe for sensitive groups. People are urged to avoid strenuous outdoor activity and to set air conditioners to recirculate if possible. 

Minerva Fire Burns Near Quincy, Polluting Air

Aug 3, 2017
Cal Fire

The Minerva fire continues to burn south of Quincy. The wildfire that started Saturday has now burned 1,700 acres and is now 30 percent contained.

While no evacuations have been ordered for the Minerva fire, the National Forest Service is asking Quincy residents to prepare for the possibility. Meanwhile those living in the area have to cope with another danger — haze.

Sam Longmire is the air pollution control specialist with the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management district.

Cal Fire

Authorities in Chico responded quickly Wednesday afternoon as a brush fire erupted on the eastern edge of town, spreading across 150 acres. 

The fire spread quickly through dry grass and shrubs near the California Park area and was 50 percent contained by nightfall.  

Aaron Lowe, a division chief with the Chico Fire Department, said officials are still trying to figure out how it started. “The ignition source of the fire is under investigation, we’re still determining the origin and cause,” he said. 

Adia White

Cal Fire Butte County is reporting on Twitter that forward progress has been stopped in the 100-acre brush fire burning east of the California Park area of Chico, and that evacuation warnings have been lifted.  They say the fire is now 30 percent contained.

Evacuation warnings were previously in place for Stilson Canyon Road, Summit Ridge Terrace and Siena Ridge Loop.

There is a road closure on Highway 32 between Bruce Road and about 3 and half miles eastward to the intersection with Humboldt Road.

Cal Fire

Firefighters continue surveying the damage and are beginning to mop up after a wind-whipped wildfire exploded across the Happy Valley area of Shasta County west of Anderson Tuesday.  

Cal Fire Public Information Officer Suzi Brady confirmed that five homes were utterly destroyed and two other buildings were significantly damaged despite an overwhelming response by local, state and federal firefighters backed by air tankers and helicopters dropping water and retardant.  

Two-thirds of the Redding Fire Department was helping out on the Laverne Fire in Happy Valley Tuesday. 

Six of the city’s nine engines were deployed to the Happy Valley incident. Chief Gerry Gray says that with resources running thin, more and more agencies are relying on each other to provide mutual aid. We wanted to know what would have happened if a major incident broke out in the city of Redding at the same time.

Gray says Redding sent resources specifically to protect the city as the fire burned to the north.

A fire burning in Shasta County's Happy Valley has grown from 60 acres to 150 acres and is 20 percent contained, according to the official Twitter account of Cal Fire’s Shasta Trinity Unit & the Shasta County Fire Department. A total of five structures have been destroyed. 

An evacuation center has been opened at Happy Valley Elementary School, 17480 Palm Avenue in Anderson. That’s at the intersection with Happy Valley Road.

All evacuation orders and warnings related to the Wall Fire in the foothills above Oroville were lifted early yesterday evening. Cal Fire says the fire has burned through 6,033 acres. It is 75 percent contained.  

Separately, a small, nearby 5-acre fire that burst out near the intersection of Rebie Way and Forbestown Road near Lake Oroville has been fully contained.  

With some fearing the worst, people ordered from their homes as the Wall Fire spread were invited by authorities Tuesday to learn the fate of everything they left behind. 

A slow trickle of residents, some almost buoyant, others seemingly dragging their feet, approached the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Oroville, hoping for the best.  

They had come to hear directly from Cal Fire and Butte County officials whether their homes were among the 41 consumed by the fire. 

Carolyn Opalenik has lived above Oroville for nearly two decades.