Wildfire near California Gold Rush-era town sparked by boat trailer

A spark from a trailer started a fast-moving wildfire that consumed 650 acres in Northern California near a historic Gold Rush-era boom town.

Fire investigators determined the trailer, which had been tugging a boat, became unhitched, dragged along the road and sparked the blaze, said Cheryl Buliavac, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.


"That just goes to show, California is in extreme drought," she said.

Firefighters made progress early Monday against the Oregon fire, which was burning near Weaverville at the base of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. The town is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

The blaze, which is 25% contained, started about 4:36 p.m. Sunday off Highway 299 just two miles west of Weaverville, forcing mandatory evacuations of 200 homes.

The fire was fueled by strong winds as it burned along "extremely steep terrain," according to CalFire.

At least one firefighter suffered a minor heat-related injury, Buliavac said. The firefighter was treated at the scene and released.

The blaze also destroyed a large barn.

Evacuations have since been lifted, but residents who still need a place to stay may visit the First Baptist Church on Highway 299.

Classes at Trinity High School were canceled Monday due to the wildfire.

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