The Electra Fire began in Amador County near PG&E’s Electra Powerhouse, which generates hydroelectric power from the adjacent Mokelumne River. The area is a popular picnicking location, resulting in quite a few people being trapped on July 4 because the narrow and winding exit road was blocked by falling trees and debris. Fortunately, a PG&E employee was present and opened the powerhouse’s door, providing safety from smoke and fire for the partiers. Cal Fire investigators are attempting to discover the fire’s cause and the responsible person(s). While arson is a possibility, the most likely cause is careless use of fire, including illegal fireworks.
Due to the southeast wind, the fire crossed the steep Mokelumne River canyon into Calaveras County, endangering the small town of Mokelumne Hill, which is located approximately two miles south of the river, as the crow flies. Many of Mokelumne Hill’s volunteer firefighters were aware of the danger to their community and responded immediately to the firehouse. After determining the fire would miss Mokelumne Hill, fire chief Mike Dell’Orto notified Cal Fire dispatch of his destination and ordered his firefighters, along with four fire engines and a water tanker, to cover the nearby Boston Yale Subdivision, where the Butte Fire had destroyed a