YOSEMITE LAKES PARK – Residents returning home late this afternoon were greeting with a sight that had become all to familiar last summer – smoke rising above the community of YLP.
At about 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 15, firefighters responded to a report of a fire on North Dome, which is tucked away on the back side of YLP with only one way in and one way out.
Along the roads on the way to the fire, residents were out in their driveways, eyes to the skies watching the plane circling overhead and the big red engines rolling by, a scene reminiscent of last year’s horrific fire season, made worse by arson fires across the area.
The fire was burning among several homes, and initial indications are that it appears to have started behind the residence at 30662 North Dome Drive. The residents of this home called it in.
Pamela Mickler, who lives just across the road from where the fire started, had driven down to pick up her son Dominik from his after-school program, and returned to find smoke billowing up and fire engines everywhere.
She says that at first her son was a bit scared, but when he saw that the firefighters had things under control, he grabbed a garden hose and began wetting down the lawn and bushes in front of their house, doing his part to help keep their home safe. Fortunately, the wind was blowing away from his house and the fire moved up the slope across the road.
Engines and Water Tenders staged along North Dome and the driveways to the north and south of the residence where the fire started. One driveway made a perfect fire break, and crews were able to stop the blaze before it moved into the dense brush to the west and up Revis Mountain.
With the fuels as dry as they are and the fire danger so high, a full wildland response was dispatched, including air attack, a helicopter and dozer, plus engines and crews. Fortunately, firefighters were able to get a handle on this early on and Battalion Chief Chris Christopherson, who was Incident Commander on the fire, was able to call off the aircraft and had the fire controlled by 6:19 p.m.
Christopherson reminds everyone that with the hot and dry conditions, this is an early reminder that fire season is here, and people need to have their defensible space cleared.
On thing that was evident along the roads leading in to the fire, was that lots of weed eating has yet to be done, and it needs to be done in the cool early morning hours before 10 a.m.
Christopherson anticipates that firefighters will complete mopup within the next few hours, and engines are being released throughout the evening.
Firefighters held the blaze to just two acres, though being so close to so many homes, it appeared much larger.
Cal Fire Engines 4255, 2452, 4264, 4295 and 2551, Madera County Fire Department Engine 8 and Water Tenders 13, 16 and 17 all responded to the incident.
With a strike team comprised of some MMU engines off to southern California yesterday, several of these engines are in the area covering those stations, including two ground crews from the Tehama Glen Unit in Red Bluff.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.