As of 4:30 p.m., the fire was estimated at 60 to 70 acres and crews hope to achieve 30 percent containment this evening.
The fire was reported just before 1 p.m. this afternoon on the Veater Ranch north of Coarsegold, and quickly grew of over 40 acres. After a full wildland dispatch was called up, the Incident Commander began requesting additional resources, including a total of six air tankers, plus helicopters and a helitanker.
Dozens of engines, water tenders and dozers began winding their way up the steep and narrow roads of the Veater Ranch, accessing the fire from the paved driveway near the Broken Bit, and from the propane tank farm across from Serpa Canyon.
An Incident Command Post was established near the top of the main driveway to the Veater Ranch, just a few hundred yards from a fire that burned on the ranch on July 4.
As the size and potential of the incident became apparent, the Sheriff’s Office responded, along with CHP and Citizens on Patrol, and deputies began going door-to-door in the Road 420/Mudge Ranch neighborhood, Cavin Lane, and all homes on the east side of Highway 41 between Serpa Canyon and Road 420, warning everyone to pack up and get out. Some refused, but most cooperated, leaving roads and access routes clear for first responders, and relieving law enforcement of the worry of people still being inside the danger zone.
Sheriff’s deputies continue to patrol the neighborhood making sure that homes are secure and no one has been left behind. They responded to at least one call of a resident needing assistance to evacuate.
By about 3 p.m., the fire had grown to about 70 acres, and had crested the ridge and started backing down into a neighborhood along Mattie Fhy Road. Residents raced to gather pets and load dozens of horses into trailers ahead of the flames, as air tankers roared overhead, dropping load after load of retardant, and helicopters ferried back and forth delivering buckets of water.
Several law enforcement vehicles were doused with the pink slurry as they made their way through neighborhoods, notifying residents to evacuate as firefighters and bulldozers worked on the steep slope above them.
At one point, up on the mountain on the southern end of the fire, the gusting winds pushed the fire up the hill so quickly it threatened to engulf a fire engine. A dozer cutting fireline in the area came down the hill and made quick work of the flames.
Road 420 was closed at Highway 41 and on the east side at Road 223, and remains closed at this hour. Early on, traffic on Highway 41 was stopped at the Coarsegold Community Center, but Sheriff’s Commander Tyson Pogue decided deputies would be best utilized in ensuring the safety of the residents in the area and notifying them to evacuate, rather than manning roadblocks.
A Red Cross center was set up at the YLP Church at 43840 Patrick Avenue in Yosemite Lakes Park, and the rodeo grounds in Coarsegold was made available for large animals.
At 6:30 p.m., an ambulance was dispatched to the fire for reports of a firefighter needing medical attention. It appears to be heat related.
We don’t have any updates from the Sheriff’s Office on when evacuated residents may be allowed to return home, but will post as soon as we learn more. Please see the list below for evacuated roads.
This is the second fire in the past month on the Veater Ranch. A fire on July 4 burned 103 acres and required 150 firefighters to put it out.
The cause of the Serpa Fire is under investigation.
The following streets are under mandatory evacuation orders due to Serpa Fire:
Mattie Fhy Road
Mattie Fhy Court
Thornberry Ponds Lane
China Creek Way
Mudge Ranch Road
Mudge Ranch Lane
Barcus Court N
Barcus Court S
Thornberry Summit Rd
Falcon View Lane
Falcon View Road
Cedar Mountain Lane
East side of Hwy 41 between The Broken Bit and Road 420.
American Red Cross has established an evacuation shelter at the Yosemite Lakes Park Church (43840 Patrick Ave, Coarsegold)