MOUNTAIN AREA — Two separate fires burning miles apart kept fire crews busy this evening in North Fork and Catheys Valley.
At 6:47 p.m., firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire burning on Wind Dancer Way just off Road 235 above Redinger Lake.
Cal Fire Engine 4255 was first at scene and reported one 900 sq. ft. structure fully involved with about one-quarter acre spread into the vegetation.
At least four structures were in the immediate vicinity of the fire, with power lines also threatened by the flames. PG&E was called to respond.
Helicopter 403 was overhead by 7:02 p.m., and was instructed to make water drops directly on the structure to stop the ember production and keep flying sparks from causing new starts in the surrounding vegetation.
By 7:11 p.m., the forward progress of the fire had been stopped at about one acre, and minutes later the Incident Commander cancelled all incoming resources except three engines and one water tender.
Before all the engines could even arrive at scene, reports came in from the Fire Station in Catheys Valley that there was a fire across the road from the station, burning about 100 ft. in a narrow strip of vegetation.
A new dispatch was called out, and resources from the Dancer Fire in North Fork were diverted to Catheys Valley, including Air Tankers 82 and 83 which were inbound to the Dancer Fire.
As more information came in, it was determined that there were three fires burning along the west side of Highway 140 near the fire station, and by 7:40 p.m., the forward progress of two of them had been stopped. The third was headed for a structure, and firefighters directed their efforts to stopping the spread of that finger of fire, while a recon of Highway 140 was done in both directions to make sure there were no other fires further out from the first location.
By 7:44 p.m., air resources headed for home due to the loss of daylight, and 10 minutes later, the forward progress of the third fire had been stopped. The total acreage reported was four acres. At 8:15 p.m., all resources not already on scene were cancelled.
At 8:42 p.m., the Dancer Fire was contained, with about another hour for mop-up.
As of 9 p.m., crews are still at scene of both fires working on mop-up, while investigators get busy with the job of determining what caused the fires.