MADERA COUNTY — Firefighters have been kept scrambling this afternoon and evening as a series of lightning fires were sparked across the valley floor and into the foothills.
At this time, it appears that the forward progress of all of the nearly dozen fires has been stopped.
At about 4:30 p.m., the first reports began coming in of multiple fires, from O’Neals south nearly to Highway 145.
Air Attack was in the air in short order, and helicopters began bucket work and recon to locate new starts.
The first fire was on Road 200 at Road 201 near the Ponderosa offices. That one was quickly handled, but reports of new starts continued to come in to the Emergency Command Center.
An Incident Command Post was set up at the 22 Mile House and as engines entered the area, they were directed to one of the starts.
Fires of most concern were in the Road 406 area where structures were threatened. The largest in that group was called contained at 6:10 p.m.
A group of five fires was reported south of Road 406 and two others on Jewel Vista Court.
At 5:24 p.m., another lightning fire was called on in the 28000 block of Yosemite Springs Parkway, and over the next hour, Air Attack called in at least six more smaller starts in the Road 406 area, most less than 1/4 acre.
As fires were contained and resources reassigned, some incoming engines staged at the Park & Ride at Highway 41 and Road 200 to await assignment as conditions changed by the minute.
By 6:30 p.m., firefighters were getting a handle on the fires on the north end, including Jewel Court, though one was only accessible by walking in. Crews from Mt. Bullion were arriving, and one would be assigned to that fire.
A new start was reported at 6:31, this one south of Road 210 on Millerton Ridge. Available resources were reassigned. Air Attack relayed that there were no roads in the area to access the fire, and again, crews would have to walk in up to a mile.
By 6:45 p.m., Air Attacked reported the helicopter crew had this fire contained at less than 1/10 acre.
The 406 Fire was contained at 2 acres, and the Red Fire at 1/2 acre.
Crews continue to work on hot spots and firelines, but it appears at this time that all these fires have been stopped.