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Experimental Fire - photo Tina Kimber Lowndes

Fire Burning On The Experimental Range In O’Neals Area

O’NEALS – Crews are on scene of a fire reported in the area east of Highway 41 on the San Joaquin Experimental Range south of Road 200.

A full wildland dispatch was called up at 2:43 p.m., including Air Attack out of Fresno, and one air tanker, and a helicopter out of Columbia.

The fire is located about 3 miles east of Highway 41 on Road 208 near Andrew Johnson Road, at the far east end of the Experimental Range.

Engines faced a difficult time accessing the fire, but Air Attack arrived overhead at 3:09 p.m. and reported the fire at about 20 acres with no structures immediately threatened and a moderate rate of spread.

Madera County Sheriff’s deputies responded to assist with flagging the route for incoming equipment.

As engines continued to arrive at scene, another fire was reported near Millerton Lake, however a second fire was not located.

Experimental Fire – photo courtesy of Melissa Steward

At 3:29 p.m., two additional air tankers were en route.

At 3:30 p.m., the Incident Commander requested an additional dozer, two more crews, three Type 3 Engines, and three more water tenders.

At 3:37 p.m., the forward progress at the head of the fire was stopped at about 40 acres. The right flank and heel were still pretty active, and the IC reports getting crews onto the right side of the fire may take a while.

At 5:30 p.m., Air Attacked was released back to Fresno.

As of 6 p.m., the fire was still reported at 40 acres, with 25 percent containment. There are 100 personnel assigned to the incident including 11 engines, 4 crews, 3 water tenders, 1 helicopter and 1 dozer. All fixed-wind aircraft have returned to base.

Crews are working to strengthen firelines and hit hot spots. Fire officials expect to have the fire fully contained by tomorrow.

At 7:48 p.m., the estimated size was updated to 56 acres with 40 percent containment.

Update 7 a.m. Thursday, May 24 – the fire is now 70 percent contained, holding at 56 acres. There are currently 45 personnel assigned to the incident including 5 engines, 2 crews and 2 water tenders.

No structures have been threatened or destroyed.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

We will update here as conditions change.

(The fire is located east of the marker on the map below).


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