Latest Mosquito Fire: Growing in size, aerial forecast for Sacramento

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The Mosquito Fire grew Friday night as it continues to tear through the rugged foothills of Placer and El Dorado counties, threatening more than 3,000 homes.

The fire is now estimated at 33,754 acres, an increase of about 4,000 acres since the previous day, Cal Fire said Saturday morning. The fire threatens nearly 5,900 structures in Foresthill, Volcanoville, Georgetown and other settlements in the Sierra foothills.

The fire, which started Tuesday night near Oxbow Reservoir in Placer County, is still 0% contained, according to Cal Fire.

Several communities remain under evacuation orders, including Foresthill, Georgetown, Todd Valley, Volcanoville and Michigan Bluff. The El Dorado National Forest Twitter account reported Saturday that 11,117 people had been evacuated.

Around 1,700 firefighters are battling the blaze. The cause has not been determined, Cal Fire said.

Firefighters said structures were destroyed in Volcanoville. Damage was also reported in Foresthill.

“The fire impacted the town of Foresthill (Thursday) evening and (Friday) morning,” the Foresthill Fire District wrote on its website Friday evening. “While we don’t have specific details regarding the loss of property, we know that the statewide teams tasked with protecting our community did a valiant job of minimizing property damage and we are grateful for their efforts in very unfavorable conditions.”

Sacramento Area Smoke Forecast

The air in much of the Sierra foothills near the blaze remains treacherous Saturday morning. But the Sacramento Valley could see relief Saturday and Sunday.

Air quality readings Saturday morning in the Auburn area showed “hazardous” conditions, meaning residents should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Similar conditions were seen in the Grass Valley and Nevada City area. The US Interagency Wildfire Air Quality Response Program wrote on Saturday air quality around Auburn and the foothills would improve slightly this afternoon but would still remain at unhealthy levels.

Folsom, Granite Bay, Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln all had air quality ranging from “good” to “moderate”. The air was good in most of Sacramento County.

Eric Kurth, a National Weather Service forecaster, said offshore winds are expected to blow the smoke east Saturday, but “there will still be quite a bit of smoke in the foothills area.” The wind could push smoke and haze from the coast into the area.

Higher elevations south of Highway 50 could see showers or thunderstorms, he said. This moisture will move north on Sunday, but will likely stay east of the Mosquito Fire.

Firefighters battling the blaze will be relieved of the heat wave after Saturday. After days of triple-digit readings, the high temperature in the Foresthill area is expected to reach 88 degrees on Saturday.

Burglary suspect arrested in fire zone

Placer County sheriff’s deputies said Friday they arrested an El Dorado County man suspected of burgling a house inside the evacuation zone.

Logan Gross, 20, was arrested on suspicion of burgling a home in the 6000 block of Parkwood Court in Todd Valley, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office said on social media.

Deputies said they found items taken from the house inside Gross’s truck.

Law enforcement said they are patrolling evacuation areas in Placer and El Dorado counties to protect homes from burglaries.

This story was originally published September 10, 2022 9:23 a.m.

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Ryan Lillis covers housing, real estate and development for The Sacramento Bee. He has been a reporter at The Bee since 2006 and previously covered Crime, City Hall, Wildfires and the Central Valley, and was the Associate Editor. Originally from upstate New York, he graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Journalism.

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