Fire on Mt.Murphy Burns over 80 acres

Just after 4:00pm on July 1, 2007, a fire began on the flanks of Mt. Murphy. Located in central Coloma, east and adjacent to the South Fork American River, the fire and smoke was seen from miles away. The burned area is owned and managed by the Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. The park acquired the land through the efforts of ARC who recognized the scenic value of Mt Murphy as a backdrop for the historic park. The area burned is classic chaparral grasslands with some brush and oaks. No cause of the fire was known. Several structures were threatened, but there was no loss of buildings thanks to the efforts of CDF, who fought the fire with hand crews, helicopter water drops, and retardant dropped from the air. Although fire officials closed all roads providing access to Mt. Murphy, there were no mandatory evacuations.

Helicopters filled their water buckets to fight the fire from the South Fork American River, above Troublemaker Rapid. River Road residents Jim Baldini, Heather Guttormsen, and Eleena Bradford (who is 5) were in a great position to view the Firefighter’s efforts. Here’s how they described their backyard scene; a helicopter would hover with its landing rails touching the water, then the pilots would honk and wave at the onlookers, then fly off as the suspended water bucket was filled. Heather echoed the sentiments of many residents when she applauded the talent and dedication of all these men and women that protect our little valley.

Thanks to Coloma area resident Brad Penner for the following video, shot from the north-facing canyon wall (river left) upstream from the fire:

2 thoughts on “Fire on Mt.Murphy Burns over 80 acres

  1. 1. The deputy sheriffs that told me that my wife and I had to leave our home at that moment constituted a mandatory evacuation.
    2. Having owned 269 acres of Mt. Murphy for more than 25 years we believe that much more than 80 acres burned.
    3. The fire was started by an arsonist.
    4. Most of the fire fighting equipment was initially directed to the bottom of Mt Murphy on Bayne Road and later had to be directed to the top of Mt Murphy. The response by CDF to the top of Mt. Murphy was hindered because of the horrible condition of Mt Murphy Road.

  2. Nothing is more frightening than to be awakened from a nap by neighbors with an alarm of “FIRE!.” Even more devastating was the loss of my beloved golden retriever due to this 4th fire that has devastated the scenic backdrop upon Mt. Murphy. Ancient oaks and golden eagle nests were forever destroyed, never to look the same again in our generation.

    The only preservation of this historic heritage has been captured on the canvases of several local and international artists who have rendered Mt. Murphy in her golden glory.

    Intruders and crime have increased on this historical viewshed jeopardizing the safety and security of Mt. Murphy residents with increasing frequency. Cooperation and appropriate response of public officials has been negligable. Citizen involvement in a Neighborhood Watch is vital to ensuring this trend doesn’t continue to be a regular occurrence, forfeit safety and further destroy our national heritage.

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