Wood debris pile in Scotia erupts in flames

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

A quick, cooperative effort was credited for keeping damage to a minimum from a weekend fire in Scotia.

Scotia Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Broadstock said the response from nearby fire agencies, including Rio Dell and Fortuna Volunteer Fire Departments, and CalFire in Fortuna, was extremely helpful.

"Without great neighbors helping each other in these type of events," he said, "there could have been more of a loss."

The fire started just after 4 p.m. on Sunday when a wood debris pile near the Eel River Power Plant in Scotia spontaneously combusted.

Broadstock said the fire started on the southwest side of the debris pile, and "within three to five minutes, extended to the front and sides of the pile at a high rate of speed due to winds and dry fuel conditions."

At one point, several homes in Scotia were threatened by the fire, and there were a few small spot fires reported.

"Mutual aid agencies were quick to respond and provide structure protection," Broadstock said. Assistance from a CalFire helicopter was also crucial in getting the fire under control. The fire was completely extinguished by 8 p.m. Sunday.

Photos by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Flames from a wood debris pile generated thick clouds of smoke in Scotia on Sunday afternoon.