The Mosquito Fire that burned in Placer and El Dorado counties last year was designated the state’s largest wildfire of 2022. The fire began on September 6, 2022, above Oxbow Reservoir in the Middle Fork American River drainage, on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. The fire went on to burn 76,788 acres, destroying 78 structures and damaging 13 more, in the small, rural communities of Michigan Bluff, Foresthill and Volcanoville in El Dorado County.
“While the fire was burning, our operators were out with the fire crews, making sure the water continued to flow for the firefighting efforts to protect our community,” said Nicholas Schneider, General Manager of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District (GDPUD). “As the fire was burning, ash and debris were continuously entering our canal system and required extensive work to prevent complete clogging and overflows.”
GDPUD’s water infrastructure was significantly impacted by the fire, including three destroyed stream gages, destruction of its protective flume cover and levee roads damaged by truck and equipment traffic. GDPUD has since completed temporary repairs to levee roads, initiated the removal of damaged trees and completed construction of a new, modernized flume cover.
Erosion and debris continue to impact the water system, especially as a result of the major rainstorms in the region this winter, resulting in increased maintenance needs and costs. GDPUD staff is continuing to seek grant funding to assist with necessary system repairs. GDPUD was also included in Congressman Kevin Kiley’s initial selections for community project funding, which were announced in April. This request would allocate $1.5 million for the construction of a two-million-gallon fire resilient water storage tank to aid in fire suppression efforts.