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Equipment sparks El Dorado County grass fire, officials say

The fire sparked after heavy machinery hit rocks while a rancher was attempting fire prevention efforts.

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. — Thursday, 4:35 p.m. update:

Cal Fire says the Settlers Fire in El Dorado County has burned 45 acres and is 95% contained.

Crews expect the fire to be fully contained by Friday.

8:42 p.m. update:

The Settlers Fire has burned about 45 acres and is 60% contained, according to Cal Fire officials. 

Fire officials are expecting the fire to be fully contained on Thursday. 

Original story: 

Cal Fire crews have stopped a quick-burning fire at a Latrobe cattle ranch Wednesday, officials with the Amador-El Dorado Unit said.

The dry grass and wind-driven fire reached 45 acres, said Dianna Swart, a spokesperson for the Amador-El Dorado unit.

The fire was sparked after heavy machinery hit rocks while a rancher was attempting fire prevention efforts, Swart said.

“The right thing at the wrong time,” Swart said.

Swart urges homeowners to conduct fire prevention efforts like clearing brush and cutting grass during the early morning hours or before 10 a.m. when temperatures are lower and humidity is higher, reducing the potential of sparking a fire.

Crews dropped fire retardant from the air and ground crews worked quickly to prevent further spread.

There were no people hurt and no buildings damaged. However, a large portion of fencing was burned.

WILDFIRE PREPS

According to Cal Fire, in 2019, California wildfires burned just under 260,000 acres from 7,860 incidents. Over 700 structures were damaged or destroyed and three people were killed. This follower two years of some of the “deadliest and most destructive wildfires” in California history.

If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris is completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.

The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans to best prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.

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