|Paddler bucket brigade extinguishes brushfire at Lake Clementine|
A mile or so beyond the rocky outcropping known as Robbers Roost, we could see smoke rising through the trees. Then flames appeared in underbrush near the shore. Someone had
failed to completely extinguish a small fire, perhaps after they heated up a meal in tin cans. Afternoon winds must have fanned the embers back to life, and there was plenty of dry fuel nearby.
|Luckily, the flames were close to water|
Traffic was fairly light on the lake, but we noticed several people fishing from the shore and in boats. A sign at the marina warned against campfires due to extreme fire danger.
We didn’t see any park rangers in the area. (Lake Clementine is part of the Auburn State Recreation Area.) That wasn’t a big surprise, given park budget cutbacks and an off-season weekend.
But a close call, for sure. And a reminder that even if we get more rain and snow in coming days, this dry winter still poses a real fire danger.
Message from Roy Stearns, Deputy Director, California Department of Parks and Recreation: “Big thanks to the folks who put out the fire…and a bad-guy award to the ones who left it smoldering. Very glad your folks were there and took action. In this time of budget cuts and no personnel, all of us must take responsibility for our outback areas if we wish for them to survive...Thanks!”
© Glenn Brank, 2012