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Escaped Burn Pile Threatens Homes In Yosemite Lakes Park

Photo by Gina Clugston

COARSEGOLD — A burn pile that escaped the control of a homeowner today in Yosemite Lakes Park, sparked a vegetation fire in a neighborhood on Glacier Court.

At 12:10 p.m. firefighters were called out to reports of a grass fire threatening several homes in an area just off Yosemite Springs Parkway. Cal Fire Engines 4255, 4294 and 4295 responded, along with Madera County Fire Engine 8, Engine 310 and Water Tender 16.

First engine at scene reported the fire at about one-quarter acre, burning in grass and brush with a slow rate of spread. Within 20 minutes, firefighters had a hose lay around the entire perimeter, and the fire was contained by 12:40 p.m.

Two crews from Mt. Bullion are en route to assist with mop-up, so that engines can be released to be available to respond for other incidents.

Photo by Gina Clugston

According to the homeowner, he was burning a debris pile and went back into the house for a few minutes leaving the fire unattended. At that point the wind came up, he says, sparking the fire out into the dry grass.

Incident Commander and Cal Fire Battalion Chief Troy Cheek reminds everyone that, just because it’s a burn day, doesn’t mean it is safe to burn.

“Burning in windy conditions is unsafe, something that is clearly stated on your burn permit,” says Cheek. “Residents can be held liable for damages and costs incurred to fight fires caused by escaped burn piles.”

Cheek also says that it is time for everyone to get their 100-feet of defensible space cleared and to do mowing and weeding before 10 a.m.

“Lots of rain means lots of grass, which means lots of fuel for fire,” Cheek notes.

The fire was contained at 1.7 acres and Cheek estimates three hours for mop-up and full control.

The fire remains under investigation.

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