Ponderosa Fire: 3,715 acres burned, some evacuation orders lifted


FORBESTOWN, Calif. - The Ponderosa Fire burning in Butte County has grown to 3,715 acres and was 40 percent contained as of Friday morning. One injury has been reported.

The immediate evacuation orders issued for the entire communities of Berry Creek, Brush Creek, and Mountain House including Oro Quincy Highway from Foreman Creek north to Mountain House and all tributaries including Bald Rock Road have been lifted.

An evacuation order remains in place for Lumpkin Road from Forbestown Road to CAL FIRE Station 51, including the community of Feather Falls.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Friday new evacuation warnings were put into place for all residents in the community of Forbestown, south of the South Fork of the Feather River; east of Forbestown Road at the north end of Lower Forbestown Road; north of the intersection of New York Flat Road at Lower Idlewood Circle; north of the intersection of Challenger Cutoff Road at Mt. Hope Road; and west of the intersection of Forbestown Road at Abernathy Road.

Road closures have been set up at Lumpkin Road at Forbestown Road and at Lumpkin Road at Mill Road. Road closures have also been set up at Oro Quincy Highway at Foreman Creek and at Oro Quincy Highway at Upper Bald Rock Road.

An evacuation center has been set up at the Church of the Nazarene, located at 2238 Monte Vista Avenue in Oroville.

A small animal shelter has been set up at the Old County Hospital, located at 2279 Del Oro in Oroville and a large animal shelter has been set up at Camelot Equestrian Park at 1985 Clark Road. The shelters stopped accepting animals at 9 p.m.

30 homes and 14 outbuildings have been destroyed. 500 homes and 800 outbuildings remain threatened by the fire. One structure has been confirmed damaged.

The public can call 530-538-7826 for information about the fire.

The Ponderosa Fire started on Tuesday, August 29 at 1:16 p.m. Also on Tuesday, CAL FIRE law enforcement arrested John Ballenger, 29, of Oroville, on suspicion of causing the Ponderosa Fire.

Officials said Ballenger is suspected of recklessly starting a campfire outside of a designated campground and allowing it to escape.