The effects of the fire at the Collins Bridge on Aug. 20 are apparent by the blackening of the center supports and the steel bridge structure. Due to the damage to the walkway planking, closure barricades have been erected for the safety of the public, and fire personnel deployed an absorption float across the river to reduce possible contamination of the river and Lake Almanor. Photo by Gregg Scott
This is how the center support structure of the Green Bridge, located just behind the Collins Pine mill log yard, appeared as the Chester Fire Department arrived at 6:45 a.m. on the morning of Monday, Aug. 20. With the support of Collins personnel, CalFire and Almanor West Fire, the flames were promptly extinguished and the two Chester engines were back at the station by 9:30 a.m. The bridge is commonly used as a river crossing point and is deployed each Fourth of July as part of the holiday Fun Run. Photo by Dean Gorbet
At 6:32 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 20, a call came in to Chester Fire Department regarding a fire at the Green Bridge located on Collins Pine property behind the mill log yard.
The first engine responding arrived to find the wood center support structure fully involved in flames.
A second engine from Chester, along with a CalFire unit from Westwood and another from Almanor West Fire, arrived in support and allowed the fire to be attacked from both sides of the river.
The age and deteriorated condition of the wooden supports, along with the treatment materials used to treat the lumber, helped create a condition for fast ignition and a hot burning flame.
The double-sided assault resulted in timely extinguishing the fire and no migration of the blaze to surrounding areas.
Upon talking with Collins Pine and fire officials, it seems that the fire was most likely man-made, but no evidence of arson has been discovered as of the printing of this story.
Nick Kent, forest manager for the Collins Almanor Forest, indicated that replacement of the aging structure has been deemed cost prohibitive at this time.
There has not been a specific price attached, but most ballpark estimates are above the $200,000 range when considering any state or federal mandates that would be required.
He indicated that unless some unknown donation or grant money becomes available, the chances of replacement are very slim.
Responding fire units attack the Collins’ Green Bridge fire from both sides of the Feather River. The treated lumber and old rotted condition of the center structure created a quick, high intensity fire, which was the biggest difficulty for the firefighters. They were able to extinguish the flames and stop the migration of the fire to any surrounding areas. Photo Submitted by Collins Pine
Warping of the metal structure and damage to the planking from the fire on Aug. 20 is clearly visible in this photo looking from north to south across the Green Bridge. The plywood barriers and signage are to remind those people who often use the bridge of the danger due to the fire damage. Photo by Gregg Scott