Ophir fire cause determined: electrical failure on billboard

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Cal Fire personnel, after 18 months of investigation, have determined that the Ophir fire, which burned 1,600 acres and destroyed 21 homes, was caused by an electrical failure on a Highway 70 billboard. The fire burned through the town of Palermo, California on June 10, 2008. Cal Fire has not yet decided if they will bill the owner of the billboard for the suppression costs. The property loss was approximately $3.6 million.

The Ophir fire occurred during a very busy period for firefighters in central California. Other fires burning at the same time included the Jackson, 41, and Indians fires.

Ophir fire
Ophir fire. Photo: Enterprise-Record

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.