Countywide fires draw all local agencies

June 25, 2003 11:00 pm

By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

Local firefighters were kept busy yesterday with emergency calls to nearly every corner of Del Norte County.

Five fires ignited throughout the day from Klamath to Hiouchi to Gasquet, with two less serious calls in Crescent City.

"All of us were called out today. Everyone of us, including CDF (California Department of Forestry)," said John McFarland, chief of the Crescent Fire Protection District.

The extent of damages or injuries during yesterday's fires was not immediately known, as the firefighters with information were still out in the field.

Calls began in the morning Wednesday to Del Norte's seven volunteer fire departments.

At about 10:45 a.m., Crescent City Fire Department was called to the Redwood National Park headquarters on Second Street to handle spilled gasoline.

The fuel leaked from the gas tank of a car after a slow-speed car chase by the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department.

"It was like the OJ Simpson slow pursuit. The woman finally pulled into the park headquarters and hit her gas tank on the curb," said McFarland.

Minutes later, Klamath Fire Protection, Crescent City Fire and CDF were dispatched to Requa Road near Hunter Creek for a truck loaded with wood chips that sparked into flames, spilling cinders into roadside brush as it drove along.

The fire departments extinguished three brush fires ignited by the chips, as well as the fire burning the truck.

McFarland speculated the flames may have started from fuel that sparked from the engine or a discarded cigarette.

Then at about 1 p.m., a bush fire ignited in Gasquet.

Not long after firefighters doused the Gasquet flames, a controlled burn on a dry hilltop in Hiouchi went out of control, bringing firefighters from Klamath, the Crescent City CDF station and Gasquet, as well as Hiouchi.

While crews continued work on the Hiouchi burn on Ashford Road, emergency crews from Fort Dick and Gasquet were dispatched to help a driver trapped in a car after it overturned, 26 miles up Highway 199.

"It was a busy day," said McFarland.