OAKHURST – As crews battled the Bridge Fire in Mariposa County this afternoon, a report came in just after 6:30 p.m., of a vegetation fire in the Jean Road East/West area.
With so many resources assigned to the fire near the Ponderosa Basin, engines and crews had to be diverted to the new incident, dubbed the John Fire.
Two bulldozers were also sent for line construction, along with air tankers that doused the flanks and leading edge of the fire with retardant, allowing firefighters to get a hose lay around the perimeter as darkness fell.
Sheriff’s deputies went through the neighborhood notifying residents to evacuate, and nearly 300 MCAlerts went out to those in the affected area as the fire raced toward the top of Taylor Mountain.
Residents on the other side of the ridge, along Road 222, were given pre-evacuation notices, and an evacuation center was set up at the Sierra Senior Center on Cinder Lane in Oakhurst.
Cal Fire, the Forest Service, Madera County Fire, even the Arrowhead Hot Shots, all responded to the intersection of Jean Road and Scott Drive, just feet from where another suspicious fire started on July 7.
This is one of several fires of undetermined origin in the John West/Jean Road area this summer, and residents are understandably nervous.
One couple watched the air attack from their property, standing near the area that was blackened during the July 7 incident.
One structure was threatened, but none were damaged or destroyed in the 5-acre blaze.
Crews will continue to work through the night on the fire, which has not been declared contained or controlled at this time.
Residents were allowed back in to the area at about 7:45 this evening.
Cal Fire continues their investigation of these fires, and everyone is reminded to remain vigilant and make sure you have signed up for MCAlert.