Update (9:56 p.m. Eastern time): The fire department has cleared evacuated residents to return to their homes, according to 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander Col. Heather Fox.
Some residents in base housing at Beale Air Force Base, California, were urged to evacuate as a wildfire spread across Yuba County on Tuesday.
The Intanko Fire spread to 500 acres and was 10 percent contained by 5:45 p.m. local time, according to Cal Fire. Though it lapped at the southern edge of the Northern California installation, 9th Reconnaissance Wing commander Col. Heather Fox said the fire was contained on base around 6 p.m. local time.
“Our bioenvironmental flight is currently sampling the air quality in impacted areas,” Fox said on Facebook. “If the air quality is acceptable, we intend to allow members to return to their homes when the fire department gives us the OK (in about an hour).”
The fire had reached about 150 yards south of Lone Tree Elementary, Fox added: “Shifting winds and hot spots are challenging full containment but our Fire Dawgs are making great progress towards getting under control.”
Beale’s fire chief had ordered all base housing residents east of East Garryanna Drive to immediately evacuate toward the elementary school parking lot, according to a Facebook post around 2:45 p.m. A short time later, the instructions changed to point people toward the base gym, Recce Point Club and Community Activity Center.
Fox does not expect that more residents will need to evacuate, and said no on-base structures were destroyed. Beale’s Vassar Lake Gate is closed until further notice.
“Some residents most impacted by smoke or potential hot spots through the evening may be authorized off-base lodging reimbursement,” Fox added. “We will post information as soon as possible on which addresses will be authorized reimbursement for overnight hotel stays.”
Beale hosts the U-2 Dragon Lady high-altitude spy plane and the RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone, as well as the Pave Paws missile warning and space surveillance radar. The installation is no stranger to California wildfires; for instance, it contended with the 2018 Camp Fire that killed about 90 people as the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history.
The base did not immediately respond Tuesday evening to questions about the number of people evacuated or the impact to operations.
Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times as senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), the Washington Post, and others.