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Fire blackens 300 acres at Tolowa Dunes State Park

Firefighters survey the damage and the spreading flames along the grass covered dunes at Tolowa Dunes State Park Sunday. (Joshua Jackson/ submitted photo).
Firefighters survey the damage and the spreading flames along the grass covered dunes at Tolowa Dunes State Park Sunday. (Joshua Jackson/ submitted photo).

By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

The origin of a grass fire that scorched 300 acres of Tolowa Dunes State Park Sunday is still under investigation, according to officials.

"A vehicle was stuck on the dunes out there and it apparently started the grass fire," said Randy Crawford of the Fort Dick Fire Protection District. "We believe it was the exhaust from the vehicle that started it, which then spread to the vehicle."

Crawford said Fort Dick Fire and California Department of Forestry Alder Camp crews were dispatched to the scene around 12:49 p.m. Sunday.

The Kellogg fire – the name given it by CDF because of its proximity to Kellogg Road – was declared "controlled" at 8 a.m. yesterday.

"The wind carried it through the grass," said Crawford. "We tried to keep it away from the tree line, but with the humidity and shade in many areas we just let it burn itself out."

Despite the large area burned, Supervising Ranger Ken Morse said yesterday he didn't believe any endangered species were immediately affected.

"What I witnessed while the fire was going on was a lot of nesting mallard (ducks) had to flee the area as the fire approached," said Morse. "Needless to say, I suspect a lot of nests were burned up and a lot of deer food."

Morse said the snowy plover, an endangered bird which nests in coastal areas of Del Norte County, has a known nesting-area south of the burn site.

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