AHWAHNEE – Crews are at scene of a fire on Indian Peak Road near the intersection of Road 800 west of Ahwahnee.
At 6:30 p.m. a full wildland dispatch was called up for reports of a vegetation fire, including Air Attack, two helicopters, and two air tankers out of Columbia. The column of smoke was also seen by a lookout.
Air Attack was overhead at 6:49 p.m. and reported the fire at about three-quarters of an acre, bordered by the dirt road. The air tankers began laying down retardant before any engines arrived on scene. Access to the incident is a bit challenging.
By 6:56 p.m., the first engine arrived at scene and began suppression efforts with two additional engines, and other resources were told to stage at the end of the pavement on Indian Peak Road while the incident commander determines the best access.
Engines coming from Madera County are being told to gain access down Stumpfield Mountain Road. In some areas, the tight dirt tracks, lined by big rocks, are limiting access by the Type 3 engines, and they are having to find other routes to get to the fire.
At 7:06 p.m., Air Attack reported the fire at 2-3 acres, and said the Helitack crew had just landed.
At 7:16 p.m., Air Attack cancelled both tankers from Columbia who were going to load and return, as there wouldn’t be enough light for them to drop by the time they returned.
By 7:28, air resources had to be released due to darkness, but Air Attack reported that the Helitack crew had gotten all the way around the fire and it looks like they may get it lined.
As of 7:30 p.m., crews and engines are still having difficulty with access due to washouts in several place on the most direct route. Engines are having to backtrack to Highway 49 and come down Stumpfield Mountain Road.
At 7:37 p.m., it was decided to have one of the dozers do some work on the impassable road so that engines and crews could get through. The smaller Type 6 County engines were also requested as they are better suited to the difficult terrain.
It took until after 8:30 for some engines and the last Mt. Bullion crew to arrive at the fire. Others continued to stage on Highway 49 until it was clear they would be able to access the area.
As of 9:20 p.m., there is no update on containment, but no additional resources are being requested and at least one engine has been released from the incident.
By 9:30 p.m., the incident commander reported the fire contained at 1.97 acres, with hose lay all the way around the perimeter. At least 3-4 hours are expected before more resources can be released. There are a lot of heavy fuels in the interior and limited water sources.
The cause of the fire is not known at this time.