The Mosquito Fire grew by 5,000 acres Sunday and became California’s second largest wildfire of the season.
The fire, in Placer and El Dorado counties, was at 46,587 acres (73 square miles) and 10% containment, officials of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said at a virtual community meeting Sunday evening.
That put it past the Six Rivers lightning complex and second only to Siskiyou County’s McKinney Fire, which was 60,138 acres.
Over the weekend, the Mosquito evacuation order was expanded to 440 square miles, including the communities of Foresthill, Todd Valley, Michigan Bluff, Volcanoville, Georgetown, Buckeye and Quintette. It is within two miles of Interstate 80 in the area of Dutch Flat.
No evacuation orders have been lifted, and Cal Fire officials said no residents from the cleared areas are being escorted or allowed to go back in on their own. They declined to give a figure for destroyed buildings, saying the damage assessment team had not completed its survey.
The fire started on Tuesday near Oxbow Reservoir and grew quickly in its first four days. Saturday, winds died down and humidity rose, allowing firefighters to establish the first containment lines, near Quintette and Volcanoville in El Dorado County.
Sunday afternoon saw a break in the inversion that had held the stagnant air over the fire zone. The forecast Monday is for winds from the southwest, which “breathes new life into the fire environment,” Cal Fire fire behavior specialist Jonathan Pangburn said at Sunday’s meeting. Fire moving toward the northeast will find a “very receptive fuel bed” of dry vegetation and downed timber, he said.
The map above shows evacuation areas in pink. More details about evacuations, including areas under warning, can be found on the maps maintained by the sheriff’s offices at these links: Placer County and El Dorado County.