Fire destroys home owned by Feather River Land Trust
By Debra Moore
Beckwourth Fire responded to the scene of a structure fire last Thursday evening Aug. 6. on County Road A-23 in the Sierra Valley. Fire Chief Bret Russell said that the call came in at 6:34 p.m. and when the units arrived on scene, there was moderate smoke with no visible flames. However, the fire was already in the attic when the units arrived, and the fire ultimately burned the structure, rendering it inhabitable.
Russell said that it appeared that the fire started on the outside of the building and caught a wall on fire, which the occupants were able to extinguish, but not before it had spread to the attic. CalFire sent an investigator to the scene and confirmed that the fire started outside of the structure, though no specific cause was identified.
Eastern Plumas Fire and Sierra Valley Fire provided mutual aid and the fire did not spread to any of the surrounding vegetation. Beckwourth Fire remained on the scene until 12:25 p.m. the next day.
The structure that burned is owned by the Feather River Land Trust. It is part of the 50-acre ranch that the land trust purchased from former resident Bob Marshall, and is contiguous to its Sierra Valley Preserve.
Katie Bagby, spokeswoman for the land trust, said that the property provided the perfect location to oversee the preserve, because it already had water and power. “We could add visitor amenities (such as a visitor center in the future) without further disrupting the land,” she said.
The property contained a home and shop, and it was the home that burned, displacing an FRLT employee who lived there as a caretaker for the wetlands area. It was the caretaker and another employee, along with help from passersby, who initially fought the fire.
Bagby said the land trust is grateful to all of the individuals who pitched in, as well as the local fire departments, that stopped the fire from causing more damage.