The bushfire began at Manton at about 1030 on Saturday, August 18, started by lightening.
Manton is in the Sierra Mountains in the north east of the state of California. The principle peak is Mount Larsen, a volcano with four peaks. The country is fenced off into a massive state park, but the towns are mixed farming and residential.
It is breath-takingly beautiful.
The town of Manton has about 750 residents but only a handful of homes are near the pub and diner at the crossroads which pretty much makes up the town. There’s a power company depot, school, and a tiny post office.
There were some other buildings but a fire raced through the edge of town three years ago and destroyed them. There is still evidence of one fire burned out building on the main road.
The land benefits from the volcanic activity which dominates the areas geology/geography. There are enough rocks to create an industry of collecting and packing them for metropolitan landscapers.
The fire started a few miles west of the town on Ponderosa Way, headed north and then west, when it threatened the much bigger settlements of Shingletown and two dormitory developments – one called Lake Macumber where there are about 200 homes around a river. Each is embedded in the timber. The fire fighters headed the fire away from the vilages and were hoping Highway 44, which is the most prominent roadway in the region, would act as a fire break.
All up 3000 people needed to be evacuated from the area, and the fire raged for ten days. It destroyed 53 residences and 81 outbuildings, injured seven people and razed 27,626 acres (10,700 hectares) . At its height more than 60 fire trucks, supported by airiel tankers and water bombers were called in to head the fire away from the sub divisions.