NORTH FORK – A fire that threatened a home near North Fork today was another reminder of just how dry conditions are.
A homeowner on Wild Rose Lane, just off Douglas Ranger Station Road, did what she would normally do in a normal winter – she took her woodstove ashes and dumped them on the ground out by the pen where she keeps her donkeys.
She says she did this at about 7:30 a.m. but around 2 p.m. the coals has smouldered long enough in the tinder-dry fuels to burst into flames, charring several trees and fence posts, and burning about 1/10 acre before firefighters extinguished it.
A Sierra National Forest patrol spotted the smoke from Road 274, and headed toward the area to locate the fire. SNF Engine 53 and several units from the Bass Lake Ranger District responded to the fire, along with North Fork Volunteer Fire Department #11 and Cal Fire Engine 4254.
Charlotte Jordan, Battalion Chief at Bass Lake Ranger District, warns residents to be extremely cautious when dealing with fireplace and stove ashes. She advises putting them in a galvanized metal trash can and watering them down, not dumping them on the ground, as many may be accustomed to doing during the winter months. It’s just too dry.
Cal Fire officials have stated that conditions are as dry now as they are used to seeing them in August, and the fire danger is something that needs to be on everyone’s mind.
Open burning is now prohibited and all burning permits suspended in State Responsibility Areas of Madera County as of Jan. 17.