Sand Fire in Northern California causes evacutions

The fire is in Yolo and Colusa Counties near Rumsey

3-D map Sand Fire Yolo County California
3-D map of the estimated perimeter of the Sand Fire, looking north. Perimeter data from CAL FIRE at 9:56 p.m. PDT June 8, 2019 and heat detected by a satellite at 3:12 a.m. PDT June 9, 2019. Map by Wildfire Today. Click to enlarge.

(UPDATED at 3:54 p.m. PDT June 9, 2019)

At 3:50 p.m. PDT Air Attack estimated that the Sand Fire had burned approximately 2,220 acres. He said the spread had been stopped except for an area encompassing  500 acres. Some of the smaller air tankers, the S-2s, were released so they could be ready for initial attack on new fires, and a few of the larger ones are being told after dropping retardant to return to their reload base to “load and hold”.

The Lake Berryessa camera that had been pointed at the fire for the previous 24 hours and captured the photos below, apparently got bored with the decreased activity on the Sand Fire. When we checked at 4 p.m. it was pointed in a different direction where no smoke or fire was visible. Back to its regular job of detecting new fires, apparently.

(Originally published at 12:15 p.m. PDT June 9, 2019)

The Sand Fire reported at 2:50 p.m. on June 8 had burned approximately 1,800 acres as of Sunday morning. It started near the Colusa/Yolo county line and spread southwest along both sides of County Road 41 (Sand Creek Road) crossing Highway 16 northwest of Rumsey.

Most of the fire is in Yolo County 13 miles west of Interstate 5 and 19 miles east of the town of Clearlake. It is 4 miles east of Lake County, which has seen numerous very large wildfires over the last several years.

Evacuations have been ordered for all residents on County Road 41. The evacuation Center is the Esparto Boy Scout Cabin at 16980 Yolo Avenue. (evacuation map)

At about 9 a.m. Sunday Air Attack began requesting air support and by 9:54 a.m. bumped the order up to a total of three large air tankers and two S-2 fixed wing air tankers. However, the availability of all of those aircraft proved to be challenging. At least three Type 1 helicopters are also being used on the fire.

The photos below were taken Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

Sand Fire Yolo County California
Photo of the Sand Fire at 5:07 p.m. PDT June 8, 2019. PG&E camera at Lake Berryessa.
Sand Fire Yolo County California
Photo of the Sand Fire at 9:30 a.m. PDT June 9, 2019. PG&E camera at Lake Berryessa.
map Sand Fire Yolo County California
Map of the estimated perimeter of the Sand Fire. Data from 9:56 p.m. PDT June 8, 2019. By CAL FIRE.

Sand fire destroys homes near fire station in the Angeles National Forest

The remains of one of the Bear Divide Ranger Station buildings in the burned Angeles Forest.

Five homes that were a part of the Angeles National Forest’s Bear Divide Ranger Station were destroyed by the Sand fire, officials announced a press conference on Monday. 

The buildings were home to several firefighters, several of whom were fighting the Sand fire, The L.A. Times reported.

Read more about the Sand fire here.

(This photo of the Bear Divide Ranger Station was shared with us by a reader. Date, time and other credit info are unknown.)

Sand fire to be declared local emergency for L.A. County

3-D map Sand fire
3-D Map of the Sand Fire, looking east. It shows heat detected by a satellite. The red dots are the most current, detected at 2:01 p.m. PDT July 25, 2016.

(Updated 12:34 p.m. MDT, July 26, 2016)

Officials in Los Angeles have identified the body of Robert Bresnick, 67, who was found dead Saturday in a neighborhood burned by the Sand fire. 

The fire has also destroyed at least 18 homes. Many of the thousands of residents who were forced to evacuate were allowed to return home Monday night. 

Bresnick had refused to evacuate, local media outlets reported. 


(Updated at 9:30 p.m. MDT, July 25, 2016)

The Sand fire continued to rage outside of Los Angeles on Monday, and while firefighters still struggled to contain it, thousands of evacuation residents were allowed to return home.

(Maps of evacuation zones and lists of neighborhoods can be found here.)

On Tuesday the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to declare the Sand fire — which has destroyed 18 homes and possibly killed one person — a local emergency, a declaration that usually paves the way for grant funding to help communities recover after natural disasters.

Near the city of Santa Clarita, the fire grew by more than 10,000 acres on Sunday, according to the incident management team’s Monday-morning updates. By Monday night the fire spanned more than 35,000 acres and remained only 10 percent contained.

map Sand Fire
Map showing heat detected on the Sand Fire by a satellite. The red dots are the most current, detected at 2:01 p.m. PDT July 25, 2016. At that time the fire was actively spreading on the east side, as well as on the west side, east of Santa Clarita and Highway 14.
Here are some updated stats on resources:

  • 3,379 firefighters are engaged on the Sand Fire,
  • Resources: 435 engines, 54 hand crews, 26 helicopters, 22 dozers and 17 water tenders.

On Sunday, aircraft were briefly kept from the skies over the Sand fire when a personal drone was spotted in the area. While aircraft were only out of commission for 30 minutes (according to local media reports), this was the second time in a week that aircraft were downed because a drone. A similar incident in Montana occurred on the same day.

L.A. County wildfire destroys 18 homes, kills one

A fire raging in Los Angeles County destroyed at least 18 homes and killed one person, whose body was found outside of a home in Santa Clarita, according to local media reports. 

Thousands of homes remain threatened as the Sand fire doubled in size from Friday to Saturday. Officials had planned to lift evacuation orders for some threatened neighborhoods, but changed their minds after an unexpected wind event, according to updates on

Drones have also caused problems for firefighting efforts on the Sand fire, according to a posting from the incident management team on  Local media reported that a drone flying in the Bear Divide area of the Angeles National Forest suspended flight operations on Sunday for 30 minutes.

On Friday, a similar incident shutdown fire operations in Montana.

Some quick facts about the Sand fire:

  • Started: July 22, around 2:15 p.m. PST
  • Cause: Undetermined
  • Total personnel: 1,673
  • Size: 22,000 acres
  • Resources: 122 engines, 39 hand crews, 15 helicopters and 8 dozers.



California: Sand Fire south of Placerville

(UPDATE at 7:15 p.m. PDT, July 28, 2014)

Firefighters continue to make progress on the Sand fire south of Placerville, California. The Incident Management Team still maps the fire at 3,800 acres but the containment has increased from 65 to 75 percent. These percentages are generally very arbitrary and meaningless. They are sometimes pulled out of the air (or other places), depending on the political climate, the evacuation situation, and the phase of the moon. Back in the old days it was actually the percentage of fireline that had been constructed vs. the total perimeter of the fire, as described in the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s glossary of firefighting terms.

There has been a decrease in the areas under evacuation orders and the number of firefighting resources assigned, as well.


(UPDATE at 6:23 p.m. PDT, July 28, 2014)

Map of Sand Fire
Map of the Sand Fire, July 28, 2014. CAL FIRE. (click to enlarge)

According to CAL FIRE the Sand Fire south of Placerville, California has not grown over the last 24 hours, with the size Monday morning remaining the same as on Sunday — 3,800 acres — while the containment has increased to 65 percent.

The number of structures burned has increased to 13 residences and 38 outbuildings. The resources assigned to the fire include 1,937 personnel, 196 engines, 51 hand crews, 30 dozers, and 52 water tenders.


(UPDATE at 8 a.m. PDT, July 27, 2014)

CAL FIRE is releasing very little detailed information about the Sand Fire near Placerville, California, but a few minutes ago they announced that the revised size of the fire is 3,800 acres (down from 4,000) and said it is 35 percent contained. The fire has burned 10 residences and 7 outbuildings. The Sacramento Bee reported that Chris Anthony, A CAL FIRE spokesperson, said the fire was caused by a vehicle driving over dry vegetation. We will post an updated map of the fire when it becomes available.  


(UPDATE at 9:30 p.m. PDT, July 26, 2014)

CAL FIRE reported at 8:15 p.m. that the Sand Fire south of Placerville, California has grown to 4,000 acres with 20 percent containment. There is no change in the number of structures burned; five residences and seven outbuildings. Resources working on the fire include 1,464 personnel, 149 engines, 45 hand crews, and 16 dozers.  


(UPDATE at 7:43 p.m. PDT, July 26, 2014)

At 4:34 p.m. PDT CAL FIRE estimated the size of the Sand Fire south of Placerville at 3,000 acres with 20 percent containment.


(UPDATED at 4:25 p.m. PDT, July 26, 2014)

Map of Sand Fire at 2:14 p.m.,  July 26, 2014.
Map of Sand Fire at 2:14 p.m., July 26, 2014. (Click to see a larger version.)

The red icons on the map of the Sand Fire above represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:14 p.m. PDT, July 26, 2015. It shows significant growth on the east side, compared to the map below from about nine hours earlier. The yellow icons represent heat from Friday. The fire is putting up a large column of smoke visible from Sacramento. Air Attack has requested more air tankers of any type; with the numerous structures that are threatened and the ongoing evacuations, he is not particular at this time which type shows up. Firefighters are burning around some of the structures ahead of the fire to reduce the fuel available when the fire reaches them. **** (Originally published at 2:29 p.m. PDT, July 26, 2014)

Map of Sand Fire
Map of the Sand Fire showing heat detected by a satellite at 3:15 a.m., July 26, 2014. We will update the map as more current information is available. (click to see a larger version)

The Sand Fire, 10 miles south of Placerville, California, required the evacuation of several dozen homes a few hours after it started at 4:30 Friday afternoon. The spread of the fire slowed down by sunset under an aggressive aerial assault, but picked up again during the night. As this is written at 2 p.m. PDT, spot fires are helping the fire spread toward structures. Air Attack has ordered a total of seven air tankers, including one of the DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers. Five strike teams of engines, with five engines each, were ordered earlier. The fire is 14 miles north of Jackson and 33 miles east of Sacramento. (See the map of the Sand Fire above.) At least 13 structures have burned, including 4 residences. CAL FIRE reported at 8 a.m. on Saturday that the fire had blackened 1,300 acres and they were calling it 20 percent contained. It is being fought by 672 personnel, 53 engines, 21 hand crews, and 9 dozers. The weather on Saturday is making it difficult for firefighters, with a prediction of 98 to 103 degrees, a relative humidity of 8 to 13 percent, and winds gusting up to 18 mph out of the west in the afternoon.