NORTH FORK – A single vehicle rollover on Road 200 just south of Fine Gold Creek bridge that started a vegetation fire and closed the road, appears to have been caused by a distracted driver.
Just after 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Apr. 19, Luis Cisneros, 19, of Fresno, was southbound on Road 200 with two male passengers in the vehicle.
The trio was apparently discussing amongst themselves where they were headed, and the driver took his focus off the road, according to CHP.
He allowed the Hyundai to drift into the ditch on the right shoulder, where it crashed into the rocky embankment, rolled three times and burst into flames.
All three occupants of the vehicle were able to escape with only minor injuries, and were checked out by Sierra Ambulance personnel. However, the flames from the burning car ignited a vegetation fire, which spread very quickly up the steep slope.
The first engine at scene, Cal Fire 4275 out of Rancheria, reported one-quarter to a half-acre, and called for more resources.
Cal Fire 4254 and 4284 responded, along with Madera County Fire Engines 8 and 11, Water Tender 11 and 18, and Engine 72 from Table Mountain Rancheria.
Madera County Engine 17 also responded from O’Neals with Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, long-time volunteer firefighter out of the O’Neals station, at the wheel. “Just another day at the office,” Frank quipped as he geared up.
Road 200 was closed at the Fine Gold Creek Bridge on the north, and House Ranch Road on the south.
According to the Incident Commander, the roadway will remain closed to ensure public safety until the fire has been contained, and all danger of falling rocks and debris has been eliminated.
The latest estimate is 3 to 5 acres in steep, rocky terrain, with a 4 to 6 hour hard closure on Road 200.
With no other simple way around, travelers between North Fork and O’Neals will have to detour through Oakhurst.
CHP conducted the investigation of the accident, and reported alcohol was not believed to have been a contributing factor.
We will update when the road has been reopened.