Manton is a tiny settlement of about 750 people in the Sierra foothills in North East California. On August 18, 2012, a fire started by lightening on Ponderosa Way, burned around the edge of town and prompted evacuations. Details from Calfire are here:

The fire began about 3.4 km from town, on a Saturday morning at about 1030, and by 2pm was creating serious concern among residents across a wide area. By the end of the day evacuation orders were in place for 3000 homes in the subdivisions around Shingletown, about 16 km north.

The community was celebrating its annual picnic and some estimated that as many as half of all residents were at the event, all out of phone range, and unable to see the rising smoke in the hilly terrain. 

Manton pub and grocery store


Manton diner

The country is a mix of pastoral, dotted with volcanic rock outcrops – they sell rocks to urban landscapers – but there are five vineyards, and some paddocks are cleared for horticulture.There is denser forest, where occasionally are found marijuana plantations, but overall the region is dominated by the Larsen National Park, including the five peaks, one of which remains as Mt Larsen. The country here is truly breathtaking.

The road north of Shingletown, about 16 km from Manton. Mt Larsen, background, top.

 Breathtaking and surprising: 

Stepped out of the forest to see what an Australian looked like, probably?
Near Mt Larsen

Although Manton is rural, Shingletown, to the north west, is tourism, rural, forestry, and there are dotted around the landscape, subdivisions of hundreds of blocks. Houses aren’t easy to defend in this region. 

  The damage was extensive, and heartbreaking. (See The local paper)

Burned out forest near where the fire started on Ponderosa Way. The biggest trees here are roughly 30-35 m tall.
Five weeks after the fire, and trees have been cut to prevent them falling on the road, but six logging contractors have moved in to try to harvest tens of thousands of burned trees. The hat gives a sense of size of the tree.

 But nature takes its course. (Pics taken 27th September, 2012)