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Oakwood Fire - photo by Joannie Dearman Lumbra

Oakwood Fire Jumps Highway 41, Burns Past Rocky Cut

MADERA COUNTY — The Oakwood Fire, that started just before 1:30 p.m. this afternoon on the west side of Highway 41, has now jumped to the east side of the roadway, forcing the closure of the highway.

Cal Fire confirms that the fire is now 600+ acres with 25 percent containment.

At about 4:45 p.m., CHP implemented a hard closure, and reports began coming in of fires on the east side of the road. Traffic is being diverted northbound at Highway 145, and southbound at Road 200.

Oakwood Fire near Rocky Cut

A bumper crop of grass due to heavy rains has provided receptive fuel beds, and with this reported as a wind-driven fire, conditions are causing spotting out ahead of the major burn.

Firefighters are challenged by high winds and poor access.

The DC-10 (VLAT – Very Large Air Tanker) is reported to be on scene, which will provide a major boost to air resource capabilities.

As of 3:30 p.m., there were 22 engines, 3 ground crews, 5 water tenders, 2 dozers, 3 air tankers and 3 helicopters assigned to the incident. However, resources continue to arrive, and firefighters assigned to a 4-acre grass fire sparked at Hensley Lake shortly after 3 p.m. are being diverted as available.

At 5:13 p.m., three additional strike teams of Type 3 engines (15 total) were called up.

At 5:25 p.m., the fire was reported as having passed the Rocky Cut, and air resources are focused on pinching off the fire at the head to stop the forward progress.

There are no reports of structures lost at this time, however there are several reported in the path of the fire. No evacuations have been ordered at this time.

Cal Fire is working in cooperation with PG&E, CHP, Madera County Sheriff, Fresno County and the U.S. Forest Service, along with Madera County Fire.

We will continue to update as more information becomes available.

 

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