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Escaped Burn Pile Destroys Outbuilding

NORTH FORK – An escaped burn pile off Road 224 (Bonnie B Road) quickly spread through the dry grass, bolstered by breezy conditions, and destroyed one structure before firefighters got it under control.

Just after 1 p.m. on Monday, May 4, dispatch received a report of a vegetation fire, but when firefighters arrived they found one outbuilding fully involved.

They quickly stopped the forward progress of the fire, but the outbuilding was a total loss. The home, however, survived with no damage, and no one was injured.

One resident uphill from the blaze on the adjacent property heard the crackling sounds before he smelled the smoke, and he and other neighbors began rounding up hoses and spraying down the dry grass as the flames moved toward their homes.

Smoke from fire on Bonnie B - photo by Gina Clugston

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Troy Cheek takes this opportunity to remind everyone that a permitted burn day is determined by air quality; it does not necessarily mean it’s safe to burn. He also notes that there could be consequences, even though no one intends for this type of thing to happen.

“Residents should be aware that they could be cited for losing control of a burn pile, and could also be billed for the suppression costs,” says Cheek, who says forcasted thunderstorms will likely bring more windy conditions to the area over the next few days.

Today was designated a burn day above 3,000 feet, and this fire happened right at that elevation.

Madera County Fire Engine 11 and Water Tender 11 responded, along with Cal Fire Engines 4254 and 4275, and Sierra National Forest Engine E52. Crews had things well in hand and were into the mop-up stage by 2:30 p.m.

The fire was estimated at about one acre at time of containment.

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One comment

  1. “that a permitted burn day is determined by air quality; it does not necessarily mean it’s safe to burn” is such a ridiculous statement by Cal Fire. Do they expect the average landowner to be an expert at judging fuel conditions and predicting weather? If fuels are dry enough to carry fire, then all burning should be shut down for the season.

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