NORTH FORK — A fire camp sprang up overnight at the Old Mill site near Madera County Fire Station 11, a sight all too familiar to residents over the past five years.
The Mission Fire is still estimated at 650 acres with 0 percent containment. It is burning in Cal Fire jurisdiction and on Sierra National Forest land.
There are currently 350 personnel assigned to the incident, many of whom drove through the night to respond, and then went straight out onto the firelines.
There are 30 engines, 8 crews, 6 dozers, 4 helicopters and 4 air tankers on the resources list, and Air Attack was over the fire as soon as visibility allowed.
The fire started in the Mission Drive area, about a mile east of North Fork off Road 233, just after 1 p.m. yesterday. It ran up the hill towards Cascadel, destroying three houses in its wake. We have no updated information that more structures have been lost.
At the hairpin curve on Road 223, there is a dozer line headed straight up the hill towards the gate. Just around the next few corners by the wide spot on the left side of the road is where the burn area starts. It is smouldering on both sides of the road all the way up to the Cascadel Woods gate, and all along Cascadel Heights.
On Cascadel Heights Drive, all the houses are still standing, except one. A stop at the second house on the left showed that the Fresno Brush 77 engine had been in the driveway doing structure protection since yesterday afternoon.
They ran a hose lay from the first house inside the gate of Cascadel Woods, up the hill, and around the house. All the outbuildings, the woodpile and the landscaping were all in tact.
The road into Cascadel Woods is too narrow to drive through without being a nuisance and perhaps a danger to firefighters in very large trucks, so there are no photos of that area. However, there were no large plumes of smoke coming up this morning from beyond the gate, though visibility was pretty bad.
Air Attack returned to Fresno about 11 a.m. due to very poor visibility. As has happened with all the fires over the past few months, heavy smoke limits air operations.
There are currently about 200 structures threatened by this fire. Three have been confirmed lost.
Cal Fire Incident Command Team 3 is taking over management of the fire today.
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.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.