Saturday, December 2

Electra Fire in Amadaor County explodes to over 3,000 acres overnight

The Electra Fire burning southeast of Jackson in Amador County grew to over 3,000 acres overnight, Cal Fire officials said Tuesday morning.

The fast-growing wildfire, which sparked Monday near Box Beach, was still at 0% containment, while threatening 450 structures. The fire was measured at over 900 acres Monday night, with Cal Fire noting, the blaze was growing “at a dangerous rate of speed.”

Cal Fire said Wednesday that there was a continued threat to critical power infrastructure and added that steep, rugged terrain is making it difficult for fire crews to access the South Fork of the Mokelumne River drainage.

Residents in Amador County and in the Butte Mountain Road area were under mandatory evacuation according to the Amador County Sheriff’s Office. A mandatory evacuation for all residents within a 2-mile radius around Lake Tabeaud was issued by Cal Fire as well.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Amador County officials expanded the boundaries of the areas under evacuation orders and warnings to encompass an area just east of Jackson stretching to an area west of Pine Grove.

Video taken after roughly 100 people in Amador County fled to a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. facility in an attempt to escape the Electra Fire. They were trapped there for hours as the fire raged around them. Video: Provided by Bobby Zelmer

At one evacuation site at Italian Picnic Grounds in Sutter Creek, Jim and Lesley Davis barbecued hamburgers on the side of their trailer after the fire forced them to flee their Jackson home on Monday, just a quarter mile away from the fire’s origin. The couple last evacuated from a wildfire in 2015, when the Butte Fire swept through the area.

Lesley said she was napping around 4:30 pm Monday when her friend called. “Are you aware there’s a fire near your house!” Lesley recalled her girlfriend from her yelling.

A map showing areas of Amador County under mandatory evacuation orders due to the Electra Fire.

Amador County Sheriff’s Office

She jumped up and alerted her husband who prepared their trailer while she wrangled their two cats, Fritz and Miles, Rocky the dog, and five chickens into animal crates.

A massive dark plume of smoke billowed from behind their house as they pulled out of the driveway. Their property with grazing pastures and a vineyard is only a quarter mile away from the fire’s origin.

“That really out an exclamation point on our need to evacuate,” said Jim.

Dave Rice was cooking dinner when evacuation orders hit the area. He helped his visually impaired wife into their truck and towed their trailer to a nearby evacuation center.

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