COLUSA (CBS13) — Firefighters worked fast to get the upper hand on a wildfire burning near the city of Colusa on Tuesday.
No mandatory evacuations were ordered but some people self-evacuated when flames reached just yards from their homes.
The intense flames from the River Fire were spread by gusty winds. Fire crews on the ground tried to stay on top of flare-ups.
Cal Fire helicopters returned over and over again to the Sacramento River, filling up for water drops overhead. The impressive aerial show drew lots of attention from people watching along the river’s edge.
“I hope everybody’s OK and everyone on that other side of the river is OK,” Eric Antone said.
“We’ve been worried about this little town because everybody knows each other, and thank God we have the river right here so they can contain the fire,” Bertha Bedolla said.
The flames came within yards of Aurora Smith’s farmhouse, jumping over her home and at one point spotting fires inside the area where she keeps her ostriches. She self-evacuated.
“Today was crazy,” Smith said. “I got my dog and a bag of dog food and some documents and my daughter, and that was it.”
The fire is burning just outside the city of Colusa, a city of 6,000 residents. Smoke filled the downtown area. The sheriff placed calls notifying residents of the fire but did not issue mandatory evacuations. One major road was closed down to the public to help firefighters move equipment. At last check, the fire was approximately 440 acres in size and 75% contained. The fire was previously said to be 600 acres but more accurate mapping knocked that number down.
Firefighters were set to work during the overnight hours to prevent any flare-ups.