O’NEALS – A grass fire burning on both sides of Highway 41 closed the road in both directions for about three hours on Monday, June 17.
Crews were dispatched at around 1:30 p.m to a vegetation fire on the west side of the Highway 41 just south of Road 200. The fire, though small in size, jumped the road and began burning up a hill on the east side of the road.The smoke was making visibility in the area difficult, and with engines needing to stage on both lanes of the highway to contain the fire, CHP, Madera County Sheriff’s deputies and Citizens on Patrol were called in to implement traffic control.
Southbound motorists were diverted onto Road 200, over to Road 211, south to Highway 145, and back to 41. Northbound traffic took the same route, with the detour put in place at Four Corners (Highways 41 and 145), through the large burn area from the day before, when nearly 500 acres, a barn and two haystacks were consumed in a fire that began just after 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Highway 41 was closed until about 5:30 p.m. when crews finished mop-up and could call the fire contained and controlled. Traffic on Road 211 was one long string of cars, as people who had never heard of 211 got a chance to experience the winding road through the foothills and see some of the area’s prime ranch land.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.