Fire threatens rural California airport in Georgia
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Fire threatens rural California airport in Georgia

Placerville Airport (KPVF), located in California’s Gold Country region about 45 miles northeast of Sacramento, was temporarily closed so authorities could assess the damage caused by a rapidly spreading wildfire.

“The fire was all the way to the runway,” said Wendy Oakes, spokeswoman for Cal Fire Amador-El Dorado.

The fire, known as the Pay Fire, started Saturday in vegetation on Pay Dirt Road near the airport, according to Oakes.

The airport covers 243 acres at an elevation of 2,585 feet. The runway, graded 5/23, is located on top of a steeply sloping hill. According to AirNav.com, the GA airport has about 80 aircraft on site.

Fire threatens rural California airport in Georgia

(Courtesy: Cal Fire Amador-Eldorado)

According to local reports, the fire was spreading uphill towards the airport, prompting aircraft owners — including volunteer firefighters — to rush to the scene to save their planes and help defend the airport.

The airport is also the location of the Hangtown VOR (HNW). According to a NOTAM, the VOR is out of service until July 19.

Accessing the planes in the hangars was a challenge because the airport’s power had been cut off — a common practice when a fire threatens a community. But the cutoff made it difficult to open the hangar doors.

An evacuation order was issued for the surrounding population, and people left their homes.

Photos and video footage, including one released by Cal Fire, show flames in trees taller than the tops of the hangars and planes parked on the ramp shrouded in smoke as firefighters tried to keep the fire from reaching the structure or the planes. Initially, CBS station KOVR-TV in Sacramento reported that there was damage to the hangar.

The airport will remain closed until July 13, the FAA said in a NOTAM.

As of Tuesday afternoon, local evacuation orders had been lifted and people were allowed to return to their homes, Oakes said. She added that the fire had burned 77 acres and was 65 percent contained.

Cal Fire firefighters remained at the scene to address any threats that arose, Oakes said.