OAKHURST – The 612-acre Junction Fire is now 75% contained, and crews continue to make substantial progress on line reinforcement.
Hot spots are still present throughout the burn area, and crews are focusing their efforts on getting those eliminated and mopping up 300 feet inside the line.
At the morning briefing in Base Camp, the plan for today outlined the top priorities, one of which is maintaining a solid presence around structures to protect them from any possible flareups as the day heats up.
Fallers will be out identifying and removing hazard trees, and hose lays that are no longer needed will be dismantled and removed, along with any debris left during the suppression efforts.
Firefighters continue to monitor the perimeter for any spotting outside the fireline. The 75% containment indicates that 25% of the line has not been reinforced up to Cal Fire’s standards, but there is fireline around the entire area.
Tomorrow, the incident will transition from Incident Management Team 6, back to the local Cal Fire Unit, and the Incident Command Post at Bohna Area in Coarsegold will be dismantled.
Firefighters are being demobilized at regular intervals, though there are still 1,207 personnel assigned to the incident as of the 7 a.m. briefing, including 104 engines, 38 fire crews and 6 bulldozers. The plan is to reduce resources by 50% and switch to 12-hour shifts.
The final planning meeting for fire managers will be tonight at 8 p.m.
There are no special weather concerns over the next 72 hours, though fuel moisture levels are critical, at less than 5%.
One helicopter is stationed at Batterson Work Center for use as needed, and three medic modules are on the fireline. There are two RNs and one physician available at Base Camp. Only two injuries have been reported.
Madera/Mariposa/Merced Unit Deputy Chief Kevin Smith commended the initial attack forces who responded in the early stages of the Junction Fire, describing their efforts as “tremendous,” after the dire outlook on Monday night. He credits them with setting the incident up for success.
“We have turned a corner and are headed in the right direction,” said Smith. “The Oakhurst basin is one of the most complex environments to defend in California, where you have about 13,000 residents in a significant area with a lot of potential. To keep the fire where it’s at today is a phenomenal job.“
The number of structures lost on the fire has been upgraded to 47, including 5 residences, 3 commercial structures and 39 outbuildings, motor homes and storage containers. Six others were damaged.
Large amounts of fire equipment continue to operate in the area, and caution and courtesy are advised.