Fire within CZU Lightning Complex burns 7 acres

In Big Basin State Park south of San Francisco — may be a holdover from the fire 9 months ago

Basin Fire at 12:25 PDT May 2, 2021
Basin Fire at 12:25 PDT May 2, 2021. From PG&E camera.

On Monday firefighters suppressed a fire that burned within the perimeter of the CZU Lightning Complex of fires. The blaze was in Big Basin Redwoods State Park south of San Francisco and could be a holdover from the 86,502-acre blaze from August, 2020.

When firefighters hiked into the fire it was less than two acres, but with the assistance of aircraft they stopped the spread after it burned about seven acres.

In January several other holdover fires were found in the footprint of the same fire.

Map of Fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties
Map of Fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties, Jan. 19, 2021.

There is a chance that considering the numerous very large fires that spread through California and Oregon last year, and with lower than normal precipitation during the winter, other similar holdover fires will be discovered. In many cases since they are within the burn perimeter, they may not be a serious problem. But if they are in a large unburned island, burning embers lofted into the air could ignite spot fires some distance away, perhaps outside the perimeter where there is an abundance of available fuel.

The Park has been closed for the last 9 months after the fire destroyed most of the infrastructure. On August 28, 2020 the Park released a list of the structures that were known to have been destroyed at that time:

  • Historic Park Headquarters
  • Historic (Main) lodge
  • Ranger Station
  • Nature Museum
  • Store
  • Maintenance Shop
  • Multiple park residences, including some Saddle Mountain Property structures
  • Multiple campground bathrooms
  • Gatehouse
  • Bridge between North Escape Road and Gazos Creek Road
  • Many structures at Little Basin
  • Jay Camp Seasonal Housing

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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.