COARSEGOLD — A fire just east of Highway 41 on Veater Ranch prompted the call-up of resources from all over the area, and is still burning as of 2:40 p.m. with zero percent containment.
Just before noon today, crews responded to a vegetation fire burning about 1/2 mile off Highway 41 near the closed Broken Bit Restaurant north of Coarsegold. First engine on scene reported it at about 5 acres with a moderate rate of spread.
A full wildland dispatch was called out, but the Incident Commander soon called for reinforcements.
As engines and water tenders made their way up the very steep one-lane road, two helicopters arrived and began dipping from a pond near the barn. Ground crews from Mount Bullion and Fenner Canyon, dozers and engine crews worked among herds of cattle, who didn’t seem too bothered by all the activity.
The fire was several hundred yards uphill from the barn, and burning uphill towards the home of Kara Veater, who says her husband has been working diligently to clear the property and take down all the dead trees. He had just finished removing about 1,000 of them, and they have done a lot of work over the years to clear the dense brush and vegetation on the 850 acre ranch. That, says Cal Fire Battalion Chief Chris Christopherson, helped keep this fire from being much worse.
Crews staged around the Veater’s home for structure protection, as the fire continued to spot out ahead of itself moving toward the Thornberry area.
Pre-evacuation notices were made to homes in the area, and the Sheriff’s Office made plans to call off-duty personnel back to the job to be prepared for any eventuality.
At 2:40 p.m., Air Attack reported the fire at 50-75 acres, with good progress by air tankers at the head of the fire.
UPDATE: At 3:17 p.m., the Incident Commander reported that the forward progress of the fire had been stopped, and firefighters were making good progress. Air tankers being released.
UPDATE: at 3:40, pre-evacuation notices were lifted.
About 150 personnel were assigned to the incident at the height of the fire activity. Crews will stay on the job throughout the night to strengthen firelines, watch for flare-ups and do mop-up.
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We will update as more information becomes available. At this time, there are no evacuations taking place, and Highway 41 remains open.