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The Mother Lode?s leading information source since 1854 ? Sonora, California



Sept. 12-14, 2015

Today?s readerboard


Saturday delivery of The Union Democrat to some Calaveras County routes may not be possible due to closed roads and evacuations caused by the Butte Fire. During the weekend, access to The Union Democrat e-edition will not require a subscription. In addition, all stories and updates will be available without restriction. We?ll be updating the website through the weekend as we continue to cover the fire. Check for breaking news at uniondemocrat. com and our Facebook page, https://www.


Challenge Day

? Elementary school students participate in a day-long workshop sharing life experiences, interests and personal struggles. A2

Flag controversy

? A Sonora High School student is fighting for the right to fly a Confederate flag from the pickup he drives to school. A3

Dollar General opposition

? Town hall draws nearly 200 against discount store. A3

Tuolumne County Supervisors

? Board may call for assistance on dying trees. A3


?Refugee crisis worst since World War II. A4

Tire fire

?Wright?s Tire fire suspicious; owner suspects it was arson. A5

Sierra Living

? Quilting queen: Sierra Quilt Guild selects featured quilter for annual show. B1 ? Your home, your haven: Simple tips give wall displays a designer look. B1

News tips?

Phone: 770-7153, 588-4534 News: Features: Sports: Events and Weekender: Letters: Calaveras bureau: 770-7197 Newsroom fax: 532-6451 Subscriber services: 533-3614

Butte Fire Day 3

?Unprecedented? fire

Guy McCarthy (above), Maggie Beck (right) / Union Democrat Cal Fire strike team members from Auburn work against flames as the Butte Fire advances Friday on property in Mountain Ranch east of San Andreas (above). Jim Keever (right) sits stunned Friday at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds after being evacuated.

About 300 people move to shelters

By JASON COWAN The Union Democrat Glenn Gough lost his house last year when an electrical box on his residence caught fire. He lost his dog, a kitten and several other belongings that couldn?t be replaced. The Chicago native had lived in San Andreas just a few months. He went to a hotel for a while and then back to his property in an RV. Thursday, he had to leave again, one of hundreds of people forced from home by the Butte Fire. Friday afternoon he was at the evacuation center at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp. ?I was just getting back on my feet. I am on a limited income because I am handicapped,? Gough said. ?I was By LYDIA BROWNING The Union Democrat As the Butte Fire in Amador and Calaveras counties burn over 64,000 acres, many facilities in neighboring counties are accepting donations and about to rebuild in October. I don?t know what?s going to happen now.? Cindy DeFeyter, of Mountain Ranch, reconnected with her sister when she moved to Calaveras County from the Bay Area in June. The two were as close as they had ever been. ?I can be with her more and take her shopping because she doesn?t drive,? De- Feyter said. ?It?s nice to be with her because we always talk every night and always say, ?you?re my special sister friend and angel.? ? Now, the relationship dynamic she developed with her sister may be at risk due to the fire. Although De- Feyter, who evacuated to the shelter in Angels Camp on Thursday as well, does not know if her home has been See Shelter / Back Page some weekend events are being cancelled due to evacuations and poor air quality. Although officials with the fairgrounds in Amador and Calaveras counties said they have adequate supplies because they are partnering with Maggie Beck / Union Democrat Elda Darby, 83, of Murphys (left), discusses evacuating her home of 55 years with her daughter Maria Peirano, of Vallecito, as the Butte Fire advances. the Red Cross, both are open and accepting evacuees and donations. Amador County Animal Response Team (ACART) is requesting funds to be donated so that equipment, cages and other resources can be purchased, said Troy Bowers, CEO of

Outpacing 2013 Rim Fire; 6,400 homes at risk

By GUY McCARTHY and ALEX MacLEAN The Union Democrat While ash rained down and the sky turned pink in Sonora, and mandatory evacuations expanded south to locations including parts of Angels Camp and Murphys Grade, people across the Mother Lode wondered Friday how one blaze called Butte could grow faster than the 2013 Rim Fire. There were no easy answers at ground level in fireravaged communities in Amador and Calaveras counties, where hundreds of residents have been forced from their homes, not knowing if their houses and belongings are unburned, where exhausted firefighters are moving from one blazing hot spot to the next, where bulldozer drivers try to sleep in the shade of unburned trees as daytime temperatures continue climbing to near 100 degrees. Cal Fire officials said the Butte Fire had grown to more than 64,000 acres by Friday evening, and the massive conflagration was said to be 5 percent contained. Hot edges of the blaze burned unchecked and continued advancing, west toward San Andreas and south toward Angels Camp, while low-lying smoke and stench blanketed Columbia and places farther south. Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued an emergency proclamation for Amador and Calaveras counties, and the blaze kept right on growing. More than 2,400 fire and support personnel were assigned to the fire. An unknown number of homes and other structures have been destroyed. Thousands of homes threatened More than 6,000 homes were threatened by the Butte Fire before evacuations were expanded Friday afternoon, said Nancy Longmore, of the Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit. That number jumped to See Fire / Back Page

Fire prompts event cancellations; donations sought

Amador County Fairgrounds. ?Our Cal Fire firefighters basic needs are met. All involved have done a wonderful job supporting the evacuees. It?s great seeing all the different See events / Back Page Calendar......................................A2 Opinion........................................A4 Reach us online at Comics.........................................C5

Inside Weather

Crime...........................................A5 Sierra Sports..........................................C1 Living...............................B1 Page C6 Obituaries....................................A5 TV.................................................C6 Today: High 92, Low 65 Sunday: High 93, Low 62 Monday: High 87, Low 61 153958 090315

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