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The "Sminions" of O'Neals say thank you to our firefighters

Railroad Fire Now 55 Percent Contained, Evacs Lifted On Sky Ranch

OAKHURST — It was another productive day on the lines at the Railroad Fire, as crews have now achieved 55 percent containment.

Sky Ranch Road was reopened to residents just before noon today, including ECCO and The Grove. Highway 41 is scheduled to be reopened tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m.

The Railroad Fire is now estimated at 12,344 acres, and there are currently 1,045 personnel assigned to the incident.

Along most of the west and north perimeter, crews are holding and improving the fireline, and doing mop-up.

The two major focuses for the last full night shift will be to do some good mop-up in Cedar Valley and Sugar Pine. Fallers were in Cedar Valley today removing hazard trees, and crews finished burning down to the line on the east side of the community. That area is said to be cooling off very nicely, with hardly any smoke.

On the west and north, firefighters did a bit of burning to clean up some interior pockets.

On the east flank, crews finished burning down into California Creek, tied in the line, and improved the indirect line cut in a couple days ago.

The spot fire north of Road 620 will be in patrol status tonight, as snags along the containment lines still pose a real threat to firefighters.

Crews have begun the work of repairing the damage done during the active suppression, in areas where there is no longer fire activity. That involves such things as removing slash and debris from roadways, clearing drainages, re-establishing berms, creating water bars, smoothing dozered areas and scattering lopped vegetation on cleared soil to prevent erosion.

The last infrared flight still showed quite a bit of heat still in some of the interior areas, and crews will need to be aware of stump holes and snags that could cause problems if wind gusts kicked up. There is still very dense fuel outside the firelines, as this area has no recent fire history to reduce that fuel load.

Though there were some pretty impressive clouds building up off to the north this afternoon, they posed no threat to the fire area. Mainly clear skies will continue overnight, with temperatures in the 50s and even down into the 40s in some areas.

There have been six injuries to firefighters.

The number of structures lost has been updated to 17.

Update on evacuations and closures:

  • The Fish Camp area was open to the public today, though people have to access from the north as Highway 41 will still be closed until Saturday.
  • Sky Ranch opened to residents only at 11:30 a.m. today, up to Buckskin only.
  • Sugar Pine is scheduled to be open to residents only at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Highway 41 will be open to everyone by 5 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Cedar Valley – officials hope to reopen by the end of the weekend.

Road 620 (Bissett Station) has been given an evacuation advisory due to the spot fire just north toward Miami Motorcycle Trails.

Forest Road Closures:

  • Road 632 (Sky Ranch) beyond Buckskin
  • Forest Road 6S07 (Jackson Road) to Beasore
  • Forest Road 5S10 at 5S39
  • Forest Road 6S13 at Road 274
  • Forest Road 6S08 at 6S36
  • Forest Road 6S10 at 6S39
  • Forest Road 6S99 at Beasore Road
  • Forest Road 6S40 at Beasore Road
  • Forest Road 6S40X at Beasore Road
  • Forest Road 5S40Y at Beasore Road
  • Worman Road one mile in from Highway 49 (at Road 601).

Still under a mandatory evacuation are the Narrow Gauge Inn, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, the community of Sugar Pine including the Christian Camp, Cedar Valley, Big Sandy Campground, Nelder Grove, Camp Redwood, Paradise Springs, Calvin Crest, and Soquel and Texas Flat campgrounds.

Free food disposal for evacuees:

To assist residents returning to their homes after being evacuated for the Railroad and Mission Fires, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office along with the Public Works Department are providing disposal sites for food waste only.

Disposal sites are being provided at no cost and can be found at the following locations:

  • Residents returning after the Railroad Fire may utilize the dumpster located in front of the office at the Sheriff’s Substation located at 48267 Liberty Drive in Oakhurst.
  • Residents returning after the Mission Fire may utilize the North Fork Transfer Site at 33699 Road 274 in North Fork.

Residents must provide the Sheriff’s Office-issued entry pass or valid identification with your name and address from within the evacuation zone.

Passes are available at the Sheriff’s Substation, 48267 Liberty Drive, on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online