The Antelope Fire broke out Monday along Highway 49 in Sierra County, north of Sierraville in Tahoe National Forest, and it quickly spread to 120 acres before firefighters could contain it.
A fire that grew that big so early in the year — and in a month when the Sierra is typically a lot wetter — is cause for major concern among meteorologists and fire experts. If rains do not soak things quickly, and keep them wet through March, this fire could be a harbinger of terrible things to come for this fire season. And as of last week, it was already looking like San Francisco would receive zero rainfall in February, which would be the first time that has happened since 1864.
Assisting/Not a CAL FIRE incident: #AntelopeFire off Hwy 49 and Fillippini Road, Sierraville in Sierra County. Lead agency: USFS Tahoe National Forest. 120 Acres 30% contained. pic.twitter.com/UVTWf4AYeW— CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit (@CALFIRENEU) February 18, 2020
A wildfire is occurring in @Tahoe_NF right now. 120 acres with @CAL_FIRE assisting. Wind driven but looks like the smoke has really died down in the last few frames #AntelopeFire pic.twitter.com/TgQ1vUHvWb— Drew Tuma (@DrewTumaABC7) February 17, 2020
As ABC 7 reports, firefighters got the fire under control by Monday evening, though the CalFire incident report does not yet indicate a containment percentage. Fox 40 reports that the fire was 50 percent contained as of last night.
The cause of the fire is not yet clear.
Fire season in Northern California typically does not kick into high gear until summertime, and the CalFire website only has two incidents listed for 2020 so far, including the Antelope Fire. A small, 15-acre fire also broke out on Saturday in Humboldt County, and that was completely contained as of Sunday.
Related: Lovely Rainless Early Spring Weather Could Mean Fire Danger Later