OAKHURST – The Junction Fire, now burning just west of Oakhurst, appears to have been fairly quiet this morning, as crews made good progress overnight on containment lines.
Firefighters were assisted by low temperatures, higher humidities and calmer winds in battling the 1,200 acre blaze.
Planes are mapping the fire at this hour to get an updated acreage, which will be available in a few hours, as will estimates of containment.
Crews worked through the night building dozer and hand lines, and providing structure defense throughout Oakhurst and in the Taylor Mountain area.
Homes along Hidden Falls Road appear to have survived intact, along with most homes near Lewis Creek, though crews are still patrolling the area. Eight structures have been reported damaged or destroyed, but more details are not available at this time.
The area where the fire went across Highway 41 appears to be between Mountain Home School and just north of Suburban Propane.
PG&E crews are out in force, working to repair damaged power lines and poles, and restore power as soon as possible to outage areas.
Closures and evacuations remain in place, and residents are urged to remain vigilant and be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
An Incident Command Post has been set up at the Bohna Arena in Coarsegold, and the fire has been turned over to Cal Fire Incident Management Team 6 as of the 7 a.m. briefing.
As the temperatures rise and winds pick up, hot spots are expected to pop up again, and fire activity will likely increase.
Highway 41 remains closed between Road 426 and Road 620, and hotels along the route have been evacuated. Road 222 is still closed between Road 274 and Highway 41. A drive through the area this morning showed no sign of fire in that area, though a change in the winds could change that in moments.
Contrary to rumors, El Cid is still standing, as is Mountain Home School. The business office at Suburban Propane burned to the ground and several outbuildings were damaged, but all propane tanks survived without being compromised. Also, the area around and behind Suburban was heavily burned.
Sheriff John Anderson is asking residents and business owners to please be patient with the evacuations and closures. Everyone will be allowed to return to their homes as soon as it is determined to be safe.