The Eureka Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched around 2:30 p.m. Aug. 18 to two reports of fires, one near Bowman’s Ranch North East of Eureka and South of Eureka near Windfall Canyon. Both ended up being the same fire.
The lightning-caused blaze was fully contained on Tuesday evening after burning about 570 acres.
Eureka responded with engines 2641 crewed by Mike Rebaleati and Mike Mears, 2631 crewed by Dan Brown and Craig Benson, 2642 crewed by Mike Taylor, J.J. Goicoechea and Scott Raine, to the area known as Spanish Gulch. Crews fought the fire aggressively for hours, and were assisted by a Single Engine Air Tanker.
Ron Damele of public works, who directed Eureka bulldozers and other resources and a BLM engine, and the Eureka VFD effectively stopped the uphill flanks located on the west and southwest edge of the fire. It continued to burn aggressively downhill in rugged terrain accessible only on foot to the east and north-east eventually threatening the Bowman Ranch and the main power lines feeding the region and connecting the interstate power grid.
Diamond Valley VFD, headed by Diamond Valley Fire Chief Ernie Dempsey, responded with a heavy brush engine and their 3,300 gallon water tender to the Bowman Ranch side of the Fire along with an additional BLM engine.
Eureka VFD placed Eureka’s main E-1 Structure Engine and Eureka’s 3,300 Gallon tender/structure engine at the Bowman Ranch for structure protection.
Well after nightfall, the fire was contained within a line roughly along a rugged mountain road near the main power line corridor just above the Bowman Ranch.
Following up on fire department lines, two Eureka County and BLM bulldozers completed a line along all fronts by 11 p.m. Sunday night stopping further spread of the blaze. Eureka and Diamond Valley fire departments left the scene around midnight when multiple hand crews and further BLM engines arrived on scene to re-enforce the line.
Multiple power poles were damaged, but didn’t collapse. Damaged power poles have since been replaced.