OAKHURST – The Courtney Fire was reported on Sunday, Sept. 14, just before 2 p.m., and started in a residential neighborhood on Courtney Lane off Road 426.
The current estimate is that 320 acres are burning in the Bass Lake Heights area east of Oakhurst, and down to the south shore of Bass Lake.
Firefighters were immediately sent into neighborhoods to stage around structures and protect homes, and residents along Road 426 up to Road 223 were sent evacuation notices.
The Courtney fire quickly spread up the ridge from Courtney Lane toward Bass Lake Heights, and soon jumped the road, heading down the back side of the mountain toward Bass Lake.
Once the fire crested the hill and jumped Road 426, residents and campgrounds on the south shore of Bass Lake along Road 222 were then evacuated. At least 10 structures have been lost.
Witnesses reported hearing trees explode into flame due to extremely dry conditions after years of drought. The wind is gusting and increasing the rate of the fire’s spread.
The DC-10 VLAT, (Very Large Air Tanker), was dispatched from San Bernardino, and seven other air tankers are currently assigned to the incident, along with six helicopters.
Fire officials anticipate that the leading edge of the fire will be stopped as it hits the shoreline of Bass Lake, and crews will fight to hold the right and left flanks.
Hot shot crews, strike teams and dozers continue to arrive from across the region. Cooperating agencies include Cal Fire and the US Forest Service, CAL OES, Madera County Fire Department, Madera County Sheriff’s Department, PG&E, Red Cross, CHP and Local Government Resources within the Central