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Firefighters doing suppression repair work after Detwiler Fire - photo courtesy of Karla Berg

First They Put Out The Fire, Now They Fix The Damage Done

MARIPOSA COUNTY — Though the fire has long moved through the areas surrounding the town of Mariposa, the damage done by suppression efforts remains, and firefighters have now shifted into repair mode.

One resident experienced first-hand today the reality that crews don’t just tear things up as they fight to save homes, they also return to repair any necessary damage.

“We are so grateful for this repair work being done on our Highway 49 N property, in Mariposa!” says Karla Berg. “I was reading your story about this on Sierra News Online when my husband called to say there was an 18-man crew already at our gate, offering to help repair fire damage on our property. Absolutely amazing!”

Fire suppression repair is a series of immediate post-fire actions taken to repair impacts to the land and minimize the potential for soil erosion and other issues that might arise. It usually begins before the fire is completely contained and before the demobilization of the Incident Management Team.

This work includes mitigating the impacts of hand lines, dozer lines, and helispots that were used to support the crews.

Other work firefighters will complete include water bar construction on the hand and dozer lines. Water bars divert water from trails and roads to reduce soil erosion and prevent gullies from forming.

Before leaving the fire, crews will also construct berms, spread brush and rocks onto the cut lines and bare ground that were used to support suppression targets, remove refuse, flagging, and other equipment as part of their efforts to restore the land to a more natural condition.

The fire is holding at 81,826 acres with 90 percent containment.

There are currently 1,635 personnel assigned to the incident including 67 engines, 31 water tenders, 45 hand crews, 6 dozers and 2 helicopters.

Crews continue work hot spots, strengthen fire lines and do suppression repair work. Others are being demobilized to return to their units for some well-deserved R&R, or be made available for other fires across the region.

All evacuation orders and advisories have been lifted, and all evacuation centers are now closed.

The Detwiler Fire started on Sunday, July 16, at about 4 p.m. in the Hunters Valley area.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

This will be the final map from the Incident Management Team on the Detwiler Fire.

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