NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. — Find the latest updates on the Rices Fire HERE.
The number of firefighters combatting the Rices Fire in Nevada County is expected to double by tomorrow, officials said Tuesday.
Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Chief Brian Estes said around 700 firefighters are expected in the morning to help suppress the fire.
Estes said the fire has been burning to the north and to the northeast, toward the Yuba River drainage. Firefighters are currently trying to keep the blaze from dropping into that drainage.
“If it does go into the over the Yuba River drainage and crosses that drainage that crosses into Yuba County from Nevada County then we could have some tremendous impacts to the communities of Dobbins, Oregon House and Brownsville,” Estes said.
The Rices Fire sparked around 2 p.m. Tuesday off Rice's Crossing Road and Cranston Road west of North San Juan.
Firefighters say there is a fully involved structure with the fire spreading into vegetation at a moderate rate.
Estes said there have been reports of structures destroyed, but there's no word on how many at this time. 500 buildings are threatened along with South Yuba State Park.
Cal Fire said the fire burned 510 acres and has no containment.
Evacuations were issued for parts of Nevada County due to the fire, impacting roughly 355 homes and other buildings in the evacuation zones, according to Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon.
“We make sure that we have lots of law enforcement personnel in the areas to make sure that the people that are in that area are supposed to be there," Sheriff Moon said. "We want to make sure that we don't have any looting.”
The Rices is already a massive operation, and Estes said it’s vital to contain it before more fire happen.
“I think we're gonna see a trend for Northern California to start to see more large fires, and so we have a long summer ahead of us," Estes said.
The Nevada County Office of Emergency Services issued evacuation orders for certain areas due to the fire. Yuba County Office of Emergency Services also issued evacuation advisories for some areas due to the fire. View the evacuation map below for updates.
- Madelyn Helling Library at 980 Helling Way
- Nevada County Fairgrounds at McCourtney Road open to animal shelters
- Pleasant Valley Road at Birchville
- Pleasant Valley Road at Bridgeport
- Birchville Road at Hwy. 49
According to Cal Fire, the 2021 fire season started earlier than previous years, but also ended earlier, as well. January 2021 saw just under 1,200 acres burned from nearly 300 wildfires. Fires picked up in the summer when the Dixie Fire burned in five Northern California counties — Butte, Plumas, Shasta, Lassen and Tehama. The Dixie Fire started on July 13 and wasn't contained until Oct. 25, burning nearly 1 million acres. It has since become the second-largest wildfire in state history and the largest non-complex fire.
Overall, 2.5 million acres were burned in 2021 from 8,835 wildfires. Over 3,600 structures were destroyed and 3 people killed.
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 are 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 best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.
Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts.
PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.
What questions do you have about the latest wildfires? If you're impacted by the wildfires, what would you like to know? Text the ABC10 team at (916) 321-3310.