UPDATED: Firefighters holding Corner Fire at 35 acres, now at 90% containment

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 31, 11 p.m.

See original and updated stories, photos, and video below.

BURNEY –As the Corner Fire prepares to enter its third day, firefighters announced tonight that the blaze – which continues smouldering near the junction of Highways 89 and 299 – continues to be held at 35 acres and has now been 90% contained.

Most resources have been released from the firefighting efforts, but some firefighters remain at the scene, ensuring against unexpected or accidental flare up.

Cal Fire reported at 6:31 p.m. that containment had improved from 85%, as reported earlier in the day.

The fire is believed to have been started by a vehicle dragging a chain.

No civilian or firefighter injuries related to the fire have been reported.

This is a developing incident that will be updated as new information is available.


UPDATE: Monday, July 30, 11 p.m.

See original and updated stories, photos, and video below.

BURNEY — Firefighters battling the ongoing Corner Fire are reporting tonight that they have managed to hold the blaze at 35 acres, the same as was reported last night. The wild land fire is burning near the junction of Highways 89 and 299.

Cal Fire reported tonight that as of 9 p.m., firefighters efforts have brought the fire’s containment up to 75%, from 50% at 8 a.m. this morning and 25% the previous evening.

The fire was believed to have been started by a vehicle dragging a chain.


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After spotting the fire, several area residents called 911 to report the flames while others jumped into action, grabbing shovels, hand tools, water, and anything else they could find inside their vehicles, to try to slow the fire’s growth.

They continued their efforts to knock down the quickly growing blaze until they were relieved by first arriving firefighters.

Johnson Park resident Joy Ford was one of many who stopped and tried to help.

Ford later explained she was driving on Hwy. 89 with her family when she noticed that several vehicles had pulled over and the occupants were scrambling from their cars.

After spotting flames along the side of the road she realized the motorists were trying to put out a fire. Without hesitation, she immediately pulled over and joined a small but growing crowd of good Samaritans, who were already doing what they could to slow the fire’s advance.

Ford described seeing one area resident emptying the last of her bottled water onto the growing fire while the driver of a nearby semi called 911.

We didn’t have any water in the car so I grabbed a small campfire shovel and started making a line around the burning area,” Ford later explained. “As we made sure the spot was out we noticed a column of smoke rising into the sky just up the road from the fire we had just put out.”

“That small fire became the Corner Fire,” Ford lamented.

“Everyone was just helping any way they could, but truth be known, it was frustrating to know it would be too big for us to do anything about by the time we got to it but that didn’t stop us from trying,” Ford said, while modestly brushing off any notion that what she and others did was heroic.

Ford explained that the hardest part of helping was when she realized that what began as a series of small fires, was quickly turning into “something big.”

Within two hours firefighters reported that the blaze had grown to 17 acres, despite an aggressive fire attack by Cal Fire, Burney Fire Protection District, water and retardant dropping aircraft, spotter planes, and other area emergency response agencies.

CHP reported that pilot car operators, who had been assisting with Highway 299 repairs, went into more of an emergency assistance mode and were leading motorists through the fire zone and around the numerous engines, water tenders, and other apparatus and official vehicles that had responded to the scene.

As firefighters continued battling the Corner Fire, Burney residents Jessica and Chris Sharp put up a sign thanking the firefighters for their ongoing efforts. Jessica Sharp photo

The fire set nearby residents of Burney, Johnson Park, and other Intermountain area residents on high alert.

Within minutes, community based social media pages, online message boards, and community disaster planning groups lit up, with concerned citizens asking for and sharing first hand accounts of the fire, how it began, and its progress.

As word of the fire spread, area residents began mobilizing their resources; pulling out tractors, readying trailers, and preparing to move livestock and other animals if necessary.

On pages like Facebook’s “What’s REALLY happening in Burney,” and “What’s Happening in Burney, CA,” neighbors made arrangements to help each other in the event of an evacuation and friends discussed evacuation routes and procedures while coordinating and pooling their available resources.

“Those pages really help and are vital and necessary components of a successful and safer community,” Ford, who is a teacher for Fall River Joint Unified School District and active member of several Burney and Intermountain Area community based social media pages, explained. “They have helped coordinate efforts to find missing animals, helped locate lost or missing children and adults, helped community members pay medical bills and cover other needs.”

“Community news pages and neighborhood chat groups really help make everyone more effective so friends and neighbors could team up and work together in time of crisis, natural disaster, or any emergency,” Ford explained.

In an age when everyone has smart phones and instant access to information on any subject imaginable, Ford said she created an online chat group for her friends and neighbors so they could instantly share information with each other.

“I just love how if there’s a problem out here this community comes together and works together to solve it,” said Ford. “People up here are big-hearted and really want to help each other. It’s my favorite thing about living here.”

No civilian or firefighter related injuries have been reported and Cal Fire officials are expected to make another release around 8 a.m., tomorrow.

This is a developing incident that will be updated as new information is available.


UPDATE: Sunday, July 29, 8 p.m. Firefighters still battling Corner Fire, now at 35 acres with 25% containment

BURNEY — Despite earlier scanner traffic indicating that the Corner Fire burning east of Burney near the junction of Highways 89 and 299 had been contained, Cal Fire updated 30 minutes ago that firefighters were still battling the fire, which had not been contained.

Although SCNS, KRCR, and other news media had reported the fire had been contained, according to an official update from Cal Fire at 7:37 p.m., the Corner Fire had grown to 35 acres with twenty-five percent containment.

Despite the latest official update as of 9 p.m., scanner traffic indicated fire crews are conducting mop up and overhaul of the fire and the reason for the discrepancy in official reporting was not immediately known.

No other details were immediately available.

This is a developing incident that will be updated as new information is available.


UPDATE: Sunday, July 29, 7 p.m.

See original story, photos, and video below.

BURNEY — Scanner traffic related to the Corner Fire, which had been burning just outside Burney at the junction of Highways 89 and 299, is indicating that firefighters have halted the fire’s advance and that the blaze is now 100% contained.

No official updates have been provided yet.

This is a developing incident that will be updated as new information is available.

UPDATE: Sunday, July 29, 6:51 p.m.

BURNEY — Scanner traffic is indicating firefighter’s efforts battling the 2 1/2 hour old Corner Fire have gotten ahead of the blaze and are slowing the fire’s growth. Some firefighters and aircraft, pulled from the Carr Fire burning in Redding, have been released to return to battling that fire.

Scanner traffic also indicated the fire had grown to around 20 acres, and that smoke jumpers are headed to the area to help battle the fire.

Residents in and around Burney and Johnson Park have been mobilizing their resources, pulling out tractors, readying trailers, and preparing to move livestock and other animals if necessary.

Word of the growing blaze spread across social media pages like an Internet wildfire, with residents requesting information and details about the fire, which are scarce at this time.

This is a developing incident that will be updated as new information is available.


ORIGINAL STORY: BREAKING: Firefighters’ hands full as new fire breaks out near Burney

BURNEY — With all area fire resources stretched to the absolute limit battling the ongoing Carr fire in Redding, fire personnel are now fighting a new blaze that erupted near the junction of Highways 89 and 299, less than five miles east of Burney.

The growing Corner Fire, burning just outside Burney spread to nearly 20 acres within its first two hours. Deborah Ford photo

Just two hours after the blaze was reported, the fire had already grown to 17 acres, according to a Cal Fire official at the scene. CHP’S incident log indicated the fire was possibly started by a vehicle dragging a chain.

CHP, Cal Fire, Burney Fire Protection District, and other emergency personnel responded to the area shortly after 4:15 p.m., after receiving reports that a fire had erupted just to the north of Four Corners.

Fire officials immediately began dispatching firefighters, multiple apparatus, spotter planes, and helicopters to the area, hoping to achieve a quick knock down of the growing wild land fire.

Before firefighters arrived at the scene area residents who spotted and reported the fire mobilized with shovels and hand tools, trying to control the growing blaze, until they were relieved by first arriving fire crews.

As temperatures reach into the mid-90’s with a relative humidity of fifteen percent, officials requested SHASCOM make a request to notify CalTrans that signage would be needed for possible road closures in the area.

Just before 6 p.m., CHP and Cal Fire officials updated that pilot cars, that had been assisting with Highway 299 repairs, were leading motorists through the fire zone.

This is a developing incident that will be updated as new information is available.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 – soon to be 15 – grandchildren.