Firefighters battle 2 Valley grass fires

BROWNS VALLEY - Windy conditions made it hard for firefighters to attack the flames at two grass fires Thursday evening.

Fire crews battled flames at a brush and forest fire in the community of Browns Valley. The fire broke out in the evening just off Highway 20, about 10 miles east of Marysville.

Resident Cliff Andrews said he was fighting the advancing flames with a garden hose when he heard the roar of a Cal Fire tanker preparing to drop right on top of his property.

"Just opened the cargo doors. I saw it coming right at me. I turned away, of course, but it dumped," Andrews said. "[The pink fire retardant] was all the way down my arms and my hair."

The fire started along the Feather River and roared to the north toward homes and forest.

"Temperatures have dropped, but the fire danger is absolutely still there," Cal Fire spokesperson Lynn Tolmachoff said. "It was down by the river, very dry conditions from the drought. Took off very quickly."

Mary Ann Andrews said she had important belongings packed and ready to go in case flames got any closer.

"We have all our photo albums, important papers, birth certificates, everything that you can't replace We keep in a suitcase in the closet, just in case," Mary Ann Andrews said.

Crews from Cal Fire, the Smartsville Fire Department and workers with inmate crews had the 8-acre grass fire contained by 7 p.m. There was no serious property damage, and no one was hurt.

Mary Ann Andrews had nothing but praise for the firefighters that battled the wildfire.

"Did an awesome job. Kept our house with the wood siding - kept it from burning down," she said. "So we will have a place to sleep tonight."

Another fire halfway between Vacaville and Winters, west of Interstate 505, burned more than 70 acres of grassland.

Crews from Vacaville and Cal Fire raced to save homes and property. An air attack held flames in check until firefighters could reach the fire on the ground.

"The wind was blowing," resident Kathy Zarrabi said. "It was scary, but I didn't worry because they always been right on it, right on it."


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