MARIPOSA COUNTY – A fire burning in the Chowchilla River Canyon at the William Sell Bridge between Ahwahnee and Mariposa on Highway 49 has closed down the roadway in both directions.
Currently estimated at 50 acres, the Bridge Fire was reported just before 1 p.m. today, and quickly spread through the dry vegetation.
CHP and Cal Trans were called in immediately to close down Highway 49 at Chowchilla Mountain Road on the north, and Worman Road on the south.
Evacuations have been ordered for homes on Harris Cutoff Road and all of the Ponderosa Basin Area.
Harris Cutoff Road is closed. Chowchilla Mountain Road is closed to all but evacuation and emergency traffic. All roads leading in and out of the Ponderosa Basin are being closed.
Please avoid the area as there is a large amount of fire equipment operating in the area, and they need clear and safe access.
Dozens of homes in the basin are currently threatened, and engines are staging around structures for protection.
Cal Fire, Madera County Fire, Mariposa County Fire and Sierra National Forest personnel have responded. Madera County and Mariposa County Sheriff’s Offices are assisting. Air tankers and helicopters have been dispatched along with a DC-10 out of Merced.
Additional resources continue to be called up, including about a dozen strike teams (5 engines) plus more dozers and ground crews. All available Paid Call Firefighters from Madera County have been ordered to staff up and respond.
A Red Cross Shelter and evacuation resource center has been established at the New Life Christian Church located on Cole Road.
Recorded information is available at 209-966-1133.