NORTH SAN JUAN, Calif. January 20, 2020 – Late Saturday night, North San Juan Fire was dispatched for an escaped debris burn/garbage fire in the vicinity of the cemetery just off Hwy 49. Firefighters worked for several hours to pull apart a large garbage pile on fire.

YouTube video

The fire was burning on private property and appears to have been started in a transient camp. NSJ Fire Captain Shawn Olson took the video above during the suppression of the fire.

Given the proximity of the cemetery, Nevada County Cemetery District Manager Matt Melugin reached out to the NSJ community on social media to clarify the fire was not in the cemetery proper, but on an adjacent private property.

Melugin told YubaNet the district was aware of the transient camp close to the cemetery and had reached out repeatedly to the property owners, to no avail. The 6.4-acre property includes the mobile home park located on School Street and property tax bill is sent to an AIM Mail Center on Del Paso Road in Sacramento.

“We’ve been trying for three years to contact the property owner but we never received a response to numerous letters. Now it looks like the camp is abandoned and we’ll get in there and clean it up.”

He hopes to have a large dumpster delivered this week and will use the district’s equipment to load the garbage. “We’ll bring a loader in, we don’t want anyone to get injured while picking up all the trash. You never know what is in those bags.”

Nevada County’s Cemetery District is an independent special district, like fire departments or water districts. The Nevada Cemetery District operates 27 public cemeteries in western Nevada County–25 historic natural and 2 modern lawn cemeteries. 

The district and Nevada County staff have been in contact over the weekend and are exploring ways to collaborate on the issue.

Below are some photos taken by YubaNet on Sunday of the remnants of the garbage dump.