By Larry Judkins
Glenn County Observer
“This is more than just a roadside vegetation fire,” commented Orland Fire Chief Justin Chaney as he approached a blaze alongside northbound Interstate 5 Sunday morning.
Actually, there were two separate fires burning at the same time. One was along I-5, a little south of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Posse Arena, while the other (the larger of the two) was near the northeast corner of I-5 and County Road 27.
The first fire was initially reported to be along northbound Interstate 5, somewhere between County Road 25 and County Road 16 (South Street in Orland), but was soon clarified to be between County Roads 20 and 24. It was called in shortly after 9 a.m.
Chief Chaney was the first firefighter to respond. It was he who realized there were two separate fires. He saw that there were structures involved in the fire off Road 27 and immediately had the Corning fire dispatcher call for mutual aid from the Artois Fire Department.
He noted that the Road 27 fire was in the Artois Fire Department’s jurisdiction, and he asked the fire dispatcher to also request mutual aid from the Willows Fire Department. By the time The Observer arrived at the Road 27 fire, Orland, Artois, Willows, Capay and Bayliss were either already at the scene or were soon to arrive.
Orland police, California Highway Patrol, and Glenn County Sheriff’s personnel were also at the scene.
Chief Chaney notified the Corning dispatcher that shed buildings were on fire at the Road 27 blaze. These “Old Hickory” sheds are stored and sold at this location.
Chief Chaney informed arriving Artois firefighters that “multiple sheds [were] on fire, probably approximately three acres right now and a rapid rate of spread.” At this time, there was a strong wind coming from the north.
At 9:24 a.m., additional manpower was requested for the Orland Volunteer Fire Department. Firefighters began responding immediately.
Artois volunteers responded at 9:24 a.m. At about 9:27 a.m., Chief Chaney commented that 10 to 15 sheds were now on fire, and he asked that Capay and Bayliss firefighters be requested for mutual aid.
A minute or two later, Chaney said, “We’re probably up to 20 sheds on fire at this time.”
At 9:29 a.m., the Corning dispatcher asked Capay and Bayliss firefighters to respond. Chaney remarked, “Be advised, we have a dozer cutting lines through the sheds.”
At about 9:34 a.m., Chief Chaney announced that the fire was contained on the north and west, and, he believed, on the east. He was not sure about the south.
He added that between 25 and 40 sheds were on fire.
At 9:43 a.m., mop-up of the fire near the posse arena was completed. The firefighters from there said they would be responding to the County Road 27 incident.
At about 10:16 a.m., the following update was provided: “We got the fire knocked down on approximately 30 sheds; mopping up with water tenders at this time; the fire’s been contained. We’ll start releasing equipment in 10 or 15 minutes.”
At this time, it is unknown if the two fires were related, and what caused them.