OAKHURST – Damage assessment on the Courtney Fire got underway today, and new numbers are coming out about the property damaged or destroyed.
It is now reported that 33 residences have been lost to the fire, and 4 suffered damage. In addition, 28 outbuildings were destroyed and 6 were damaged, along with 13 vehicles that were totally burned and 2 suffered damage.
Also in the path of the fire were 4 recreational vehicles that were completely incinerated.
Firefighters held the lines today at 320 acres, and the fire is still reported at 35% containment. Air tankers were released just before 4 p.m. today, and only helicopters will be over the fire tomorrow.
There are currently 650 personnel assigned to the incident, with 100 fire engines, 13 water tenders, 11 fire crews and 10 bulldozers.
Firefighters are continuing to build and reinforce containment lines, and there is still a threat to the Bass Lake Heights community.
Evacuations continue for 300 structures, affecting approximately 900 residents living along the streets off Road 426 and a section off Bass Lake near Road 222. No word has been given at this time as to when evacuated residents may be able to return to their homes.
Firefighters continue to experience extreme fire behavior conditions due to drought and low fuel moisture, though a lot of progress was made today, and crews accomplished the stated goal of holding the fire within the containment lines through today’s shift.
There is a line around the entire perimeter, including hose lays, and crews are manning those lines, doing mopup and protecting structures throughout the burn area.
Residents should remain cautious of fire personnel and equipment working in the area. Some residents in unaffected areas outside of the fire have been allowed to return home.
Anyone affected by the Courtney Fire, who may have emergency/medical needs, is advised to go to the Madera County Sheriff’s Substation located at 48267 Liberty Drive in Oakhurst. Deputies are prepared to assist.
Though rumors are rampant as to the cause of the fire, it remains under investigation.
Road 426 between Courtney Lane to Road 223 (The Forks Turnoff)
Road 222 between Road 432 (Recreation Point) and Road 426
Road 426 between 222 and 223
Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425B
Cooperating Agencies include CAL FIRE, USFS, CAL OES, Madera County Fire Department, Madera County Sheriff’s Department, PG&E, Red Cross, Sierra Telephone, CHP, Hillview Water District, and Local Government Resources within the Central Valley.
Additional Information: Residents who need more information can go to www.fire.ca.gov or contact the Courtney Fire Information Line at 209-966-4784.