OAKHURST – Firefighters continued to make steady progress today on the Junction Fire, which is estimated at 612 acres with 35% containment.
Aggressive firefighting, in addition to lower temperatures, a rise in humidity and less wind provided an opportunity to increase containment lines, and secure those already in place.
Firefighters from throughout the Central Valley and the state have been deployed to defend homes in the mountain communities, and active fire behavior is still possible in much of the burn area.
Crews are responding to hot spots and flareups around Oakhurst, and residents should be aware of fire equipment working in the area.
There are currently 130 engines, 16 fire crews, 8 bulldozers and 4 helicopters assigned to the incident, with a total of 1,094 personnel. At this time, 2,203 structures are threatened and 9 have been destroyed. Two injuries to firefighters have been reported.
We will post a more detailed updated report after the 7 a.m. briefing tomorrow morning.
Mandatory evacuation orders were lifted about 4 p.m. this afternoon for Highway 41 and all areas west of Highway 41. Roads east of Highway 41 remain closed and evacuations already ordered remain in effect. Road 222 between Road 274 and Highway 41 is still closed, and will be reevaluated in the morning.
Road openings allowed for roughly 400 people to return to their homes. PG&E has been out in force, and most of the power lost Monday due to the fire, has been restored to homes and businesses.
There is an evacuation shelter at Yosemite Lakes Community Church, 43840 Patrick, in Coarsegold. This American Red Cross shelter can hold up to 150 people, and pets are allowed. This is a full service shelter providing food and sleeping accommodations.
The Coarsegold Community Center is now serving as an Informational Center to assist CAL Fire in addressing basic questions from the public.
The following schools will remain closed on Wednesday, Aug. 20:
- Yosemite High School
- Oak Creek Intermediate
- Oakhurst Elementary
- Wasuma Elementary
- Evergreen High School
Cooperating agencies include Madera County Sheriff, Madera County Fire Department, California Office of Emergency Services (OES), Sierra National Forest, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, CHP, Red Cross, California Conservation Corps, PG&E, Cal Trans, Hillview Water Company and Madera County OES.
The Junction Fire started on Monday, Aug. 18, at 1:50 p.m. behind Capitol Pipe just north of Highway 49 in Oakhurst. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.