Tuolumne Utilities District improvements to the Monte Grande water system helped with battling the Armario Fire that ignited yesterday in Soulsbyville.
Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) in 2007 made improvements to the Monte Grande water distribution system. Part of the improvements included installing 10 new fire hydrants in the area replacing an old system of standpipe hydrants. District staff did notice that the hydrants were a valuable asset in helping put out the fire. The District also expanded the water storage capacity at Monte Grande from a 65,000 gallon water storage tank to one which holds 500,000 gallons, which was completed in 2008.
Although power did go out while fighting the fire, the Monte Grande water treatment plant continued to operate due do a backup generator that was installed when the treatment plant was completed. The use of the generator helped keep the treatment plant operating and supplied water to customers and firefighters. The Monte Grande water treatment plant serves the residents of Monte Grande, Willow Springs, Soulsbyville and Curtis Creek Ranches.
In an effort to slow down the fire, the Monte Grande water treatment plant’s raw water pond was also used as a water source for the helicopters that filled up their water buckets. CAL FIRE crews were also using water from the District’s Soulsbyville ditch system to fill up their water tender tanker trucks to help put out the fire.