OAKHURST – It took nearly an hour for firefighters to gain access to a structure fire burning near the top of Deadwood Mountain south of Oakhurst last night.
Just after 9 p.m., people in Oakhurst began calling 911 because they could see flames on the side of the mountain.
Eight Cal Fire engines, two dozers, two ground crews and a water tender were dispatched along with engines from the Sierra National Forest. However finding access on the maze of narrow, winding roads, through various locked gates – especially with the large fire equipment – proved extremely difficult.
Firefighters had to actually get out of their vehicles and walk one deeply rutted road to see if engines would be able to navigate the route. At one point, an engine came upon a complete washout on a road they were attempting to travel.
Equipment began staging in the area until an access route can be found.
At 9:30 p.m., a resident along Highway 41 said she would open a gate and show firefighters the best route.
As of 9:37 p.m., there was still no access to the fire. They were trying to get a dozer to a road with no asphalt so they could make repairs and get the engines in. They also tried Deadwood Lookout Road off Road 425C.
At 9:52 p.m., an engine arrived at scene. One single-story 2,000 sq. ft. house was fully involved, and there was no extension into the surrounding vegetation. Best access is off Deadwood Lookout Road.
Sheriff’s deputies assisted in directing engines in to the fire.
At 10:10 p.m., one of the dozers was released from the incident as the incident commander was confident there was no fire in the surrounding vegetation. The house has reportedly burned to the ground.
At 10:26 p.m., both ground crews were released.
At 10:36 p.m., engines were still making their way up the mountain to the scene. Only 4×4 engines can get up the road.
At 10:42 p.m., all but four engines and one water tender were released, including the last dozer.
Power lines were damaged in the fire, and PG&E was called out. No outages in the Oakhurst area have been reported on PG&E’s website.
It is not clear if anyone was at the home at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported.
There was no smoke impact to Highway 41, which remained open with no restrictions.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.