OAKHURST – Residents along John West/Jean Road West were awakened once again in the early morning hours to the sounds of fire engines rumbling by.
At 12:46 a.m. on Monday, July 7, a full wildland dispatch was called up for a fire on Jean Road West at Scott Road. Neighbors who saw the flames alerted others who began spreading the word throughout the neighborhood.
The fire consumed 6 acres of oak, brush and grass before crews had it contained at 2:31 a.m. No structures were damaged or destroyed and no injuries were reported.
Though no homes were destroyed, there was reportedly one home in the line of fire, and Cal Fire Prevention Officer Karen Guillemin says that defensible space proved its worth in this case.
“Because that homeowner was diligent in clearing space around his residence, defending his home was made that much easier for firefighters, and probably saved the structure,” says Guillemin, who wants to give credit to property owners who are doing the right thing, and demonstrate that defensible space really can save your home.
This is the fourth fire in this area in the past couple months, and residents are taking the situation very seriously. They gathered for a meeting on June 13 to collect addresses and phone numbers for those living in the neighborhood, which has very limited egress options in the event of a fire. They are building a phone tree, so that everyone can be notified.
Sandy Wiest, who is coordinating the phone tree, has also created a gmail account for the area.
“People are working hard on clearing their defensible space,” said one resident, “but it’s still very scary.”
A fire in the wee hours of the morning may spread more slowly than in the heat of the day, but it may also not be reported as quickly.
Fortunately, in this case, someone saw the flames out their window and began honking their horn and notifying neighbors.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.