Chico Municipal Airport- Fire Gets Close

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Flames Scorch North End of Chico Airport in Calif.
By Greg Welter
The Chico (CA) Enterprise-Record

A wind-whipped fire reported just before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday blackened 18 acres of grassland at the north end of Chico Municipal Airport. Airport operations were not affected, officials said. Investigators said the fire started from unknown causes about 15 feet from the side of Hicks Lane, which runs west of the airport.

Hicks Lane resident Katie Sarter noticed the flames as she was coming home from work and was the first to call 9-1-1.

“I was surprised at how fast it moved,” she said. “The wind picked up just as I got out of my car to look at it.”

Crews from Chico and Butte County Fire/CDF contained the blaze within 15 minutes.

It burned southeast toward airport buildings, but they were never threatened. The fire began near the intersection of Hicks and Oasis Drive, but burned away from homes at that location.

Chico fire inspector Marie Fickert said the objective of firefighters was to keep the flames north of Mud Creek, which they did.

Air tankers based yards from the fire at the Chico Air Attack base were not deployed, Fickert said.

Downed power lines are being looked at as the possible cause for the fire, although PG&E said no one in the area lost electric service.

The acreage that burned is within the airport boundary and owned by the city of Chico.

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