Fire History

Most large fires are aligned east to west. This is particularly evident in Amador County. This orientation is due to two factors, prevailing winds and terrain. El Dorado and Sacramento Counties are more likely to experience fires which run from the north to the south - especially at the lower elevations. However, the historical large fires in El Dorado County follow the same east to west orientation as those in Amador County.

Over the past twenty years population growth and development in the wildland areas have placed many additional homes and businesses at risk - now small fires often create wildland-urban interface fire protection problems previously only found in the most densely populated areas of southern California.

CAL FIRE fire mapping requirements include:

  • grass fires 300+ acres

  • brush fires 50+ acres

  • timber fires 10+ acres

  • all wildland fires which destroy 3 or more structures, or cause $300,000+ in damage.

Information from AEU Fire Plan

Indian Diggings School at Omo Ranch

Amador-El Dorado Unit Fire Safe Planning

Our Mediterranean climate, highly combustible fuels, frequent wildland-urban interface zones, and complex terrain create a unique wildland fire environment.

Fires burn with greater intensity in this environment and are more costly and difficult to control. These areas contain steep, rugged river canyons that can limit accessibility. Fighting fires with bulldozers is difficult, if not impossible in some locations.

Current Dangers

  • Increasing loss of life, property, and ecological resources.

  • Inadequate community ingress/egress routes.

  • Difficulty of fire suppression, increasing safety problems for firefighters.

  • Longer periods between recurring fires increasing volumes of fuel per acre.

  • Increasing fire intensities.

  • The loss of funding for the one lookout has decreased the early detection ability of fires in AEU.

Information from AEU Fire Plan

History of Local Fire Volunteers

  • 1960 - The Pioneer Volunteer Fire Department and the Pioneer Volunteer Firefighters Association (PVFA) was established to unite the surrounding communities of Omo Ranch, Mount Aukum, Fairplay, Outingdale, Somerset, Sandridge, Willow, and Grizzly Flats.

  • 1982 - Pioneer Fire Protection District forms, consisting of paid, reserve, and volunteer staff providing medical and fire services, and expanding mutual aid to River Pines and Pleasant Valley.

  • 1990's - Volunteer firefighters were deemphasized and seen as a potential risk factor. However, ongoing support of the PVFA provided much needed financial support to our fire district.

  • 2018 - Omo Ranch Fire Safe Council: Re-established by local residents looking for ways to collaborate and establish a support system during times of crisis. The Pioneer Fire Protection District and El Dorado Fire Safe Council embraced and supported this partnership and many volunteer fire safe councils were created during this period.

  • Today: Your council offers many workshops and resources for your enlightenment. When crisis comes we need to buck-up and partner-up. We need each other!