NORTH FORK — Displaced residents of Cascadel are once again watching as fire threatens their community, having been evacuated several times over the last few years.
The Mission Fire fire is now estimated at 875 acres with 8 percent containment.
There are currently 462 personnel assigned to the incident including 55 engines, 7 hand crews, 6 water tenders and 11 dozers.
Air Operations has ordered seven Type 1 helicopters, six Blackhawks and one Sky Crane. Also expected over the fire is a VLAT and six Type 3 air tankers.
Five structures have been reported lost, and 250 are still threatened. Damage assessment crews will be in the community today, and we will update with their findings when that information becomes available.
Lots of folks have been reporting that their Verizon service has been affected since the fire started. Fire officials confirm damage to the cell tower at Cascadel, but the extent is not clear. We will follow up and report on that later today.
The fire has moved through the residential area of Cascadel and is now moving north and northeast. The fire activity there – on the leading edge – is described as “not too aggressive,” but there is a lot of heavy fuel in those areas. As temperatures heat up, so will the push up the mountain, steered by the predicted winds out of the southwest.
Crews made a lot of progress overnight, assisted by the higher humidity levels and calm winds.
On the east flank, which runs through Cascadel Woods, firefighters continued to construct line, tie in hose lays, and do structure protection. Dozer lines are also being constructed between the community and the active part of the fire.
There will be a focus today on tying up the west flank of the fire that runs along Peckinpah Acres, so that resources can be diverted to other areas of the fire.
Today there is a chance for thunderstorms, though slight. If so, crews can expect erratic unpredictable winds. Temperatures will be in the mid-80s, and the inversion is expected to lift a little earlier today than yesterday, when air operations were limited until about 3 p.m.
The area has not had a recent history of fire, except the Willow Fire that burned to the north two years ago.
As with all fires in our area, crews are dealing with the dangers posed by massive tree mortality. Fire officials warned that trees are coming down within 30 minutes of the fire going through.
The Incident Command Post continues to grow at the Old Mill Site next to the Madera County Fire Station 11.
The repopulation plan is already being worked out to get residents back into their homes as soon as possible. There are currently about 50 people in the Red Cross shelters in Oakhurst, having been evacuated from three local incidents.
Cascadel Woods, Cascadel Heights and all of Road 233 remains under a mandatory evacuation, and Road 233 is closed..
Douglas Ranger Station Road is also closed and evacuated.
Road 225 is closed from Douglas Ranger Station Road to Lark Lane. The north side of the road is evacuated.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation advisory for Benedict Meadow. This includes road 7S07. Sheriff deputies will be patrolling the area to notify local campers of the evacuation advisory.
An incident information line has been set up at 1-844-668-3473.
The Mission Fire started on Sunday, Sept. 3, just after 1 p.m.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.