HomeOn the summitHistory of Wildfires On Donner Summit


History of Wildfires On Donner Summit — 7 Comments

  1. Thanks George. I especially like the last paragraph. A significant part of my President’s letter this month is about the fire danger and the need to be especially vigilent. I note the over 100 years since the last fire and the build up of ladder fuels and dead limbs on the ground. I also put in a pitch to avoid fire pit burning this summer—-things are just too dry. It could be a very difficult summer with a lot of smoke from fires in the area.


  2. Am I going nuts when I was little I say back in the 60’s there was a fire up above on the left as you go down the summit where the freeway is now by the way I was one of the first people to go down the new freeway the day before it open to the public and this fire was BIG I watch it I lived on Donner summit I remember sitting on a rock with my parents just above The Rainbow bridge on old 49 and my parent were worried we lived at Soda Springs and we were keeping are roof wet cause of the aches you still can see trees that are dead it went into Nev. even my Dad is gone now but he worked for the forest service fighting fires I still have a friend that lives up there and is worried about the big fire new Pollock pines and Placerville t is getting bigger bigger right now 2014

  3. Thanks for posting this info. Good historical references. The fire in 1908 might explain the black fire scarring I see in old growth cedars in the Onion Creek area. I always wondered, did lightning strike all these trees?
    Myself, father, brother and uncle were camping in Sagehen in 1960 when that big fire happened. We were some of the last people to get out. Fires were burning on both sides of the little dirt road into Sagehen and both sides of Hwy. 89 as well. I 80 was closed/ old Hwy 40. We had to drive to Reno and Carson City to get back to the bay area. I still see the fire scarring on the trees in Sagehen today.

  4. Stumbled on this article. At first blush, I was astonished that no mention was made of the devastating August 1960 Donner Ridge Fire, but after reading the article again, I see that the focus was on Donner SUMMIT area. The Sept. 2014 posting by Suzanne above I believe references this 1960 “freeway” fire. (See my Dec. 2015 article on the Donner Ridge Fire in our Truckee-Donner Historical Society newsletter, https://bit.ly/2TOtIIy , and online references https://bit.ly/2RNqc41 ). While there may have only been the 1908 and 1954 fires that have documentation available, any fire starting in this Summit area, with even the slightest west wind could ignite another inferno like the Aug. 1960 fire that decimated so much of the Tahoe Donner area. Thank you for posting this.

  5. Hello Heidi
    Hello historical Donner summit hestorians.
    I happened to stumble upon this information Yes, this could happen again.

  6. I was trying to remember the year a fire on Donner Summit cut off all power to Reno (for four days) as we got all of our power from California. That started the planning and building of the Tracy-Clark plant. Must have been the 1954 fire.

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