NORTH FORK — The Mission Fire, which prompted the evacuation of Cascadel Road and the entire community of Cascadel yesterday, is now estimated at 825 acres with 5 percent containment.
The number of structures destroyed has risen to five. We know that three of those are homes, but have no additional information on the other two.
Approximately 250 homes were evacuated yesterday afternoon when the fire – which started on Mission Drive – quickly raced up toward the Cascadel community.
Multiple fires burning across the state presents challenges as fire managers make resource request that are not always able to be filled.
There are currently 434 personnel assigned to the incident including 55 engines, 7 hand crews, 22 dozers, 6 water tenders, and air resources as available, or as smoke conditions will allow.
By 9 a.m. this morning, when temps started to rise, flareups were reported between Mission Drive and Road 233, and a strike team was assigned to that area.
Air Attack was over the fire by then, along with two helicopters, however the visibility was so bad that fixed wings were not going to be of any use until the smoke cleared a bit, so two more helicopters were ordered.
Just after 12:30 p.m., Air Attack reported the fire had crossed Whisky Creek, and they would need hand crews and fixed wing aircraft.
Any engines or crew buggies will have a long haul through the forest to get to the area. One section of Whisky Falls Road (Forest Road 8S07) — the nearest access from the fire’s location — was washed out in the heavy rains last winter.
As just one of about 70 storm-damaged sites across the Forest in need of repair, Road 8S07 has been working its way to the top of a very long priority list.
The fire is bordered on the north by the Willow Fire, which burned in 2015, and far up on the north by the French Fire from 2014.
Cal Fire Incident Command Team 3 took over management of the fire today at 11 a.m.
Cooler temps and higher humidities allowed firefighters to make good progress overnight on what started as an extremely fast-moving fire.
Damage assessment teams will be moving in to see what has been lost or damaged just as soon as fire activity cools down enough to allow them to do so.
Cascadel Woods, Cascadel Heights and all of Road 233 remains under a mandatory evacuation, and Road 233 is closed.
Road 225 is closed from Douglas Ranger Station Road to Lark Lane. The north side of the road is evacuated.
At 7 p.m. this evening, 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.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The map below is the only one available. We anticipate a new map after tonight’s flyover, and will post after the morning briefing.