OAKHURST – Crews made excellent progress on the Courtney Fire overnight, holding it at 320 acres and achieving 40% containment.
There is a line around the entire fire, including hose lays, but the containment estimate includes only those lines that are deemed to be totally secure.
Firefighters continue to strengthen lines, do mopup 300 feet inside the containment lines and patrol the perimeter. They are also identifying and removing hazard trees throughout the area.
Even trees that have not burned are a danger, due to the stresses of the drought, now exacerbated by the heat of the fire.
Cal Fire managers told the troops this morning at the briefing that this fire season is a long way from over, and that the goal is to get this one put to bed so everyone is ready for the next one.
Fire officials spoke about the emotional toll this fire has had on the residents of Oakhurst, and asked crews to be mindful of the shock residents will be experiencing as they return to survey the damage done to their homes and neighborhoods.
Deputy Chief for the MMU, Kevin Smith, reiterated the need to be sensitive to the needs of those returning to the burn area. He also acknowledged the phenomenal job done by firefighters in the first hours of the fire.
“No one likes the fact that 61 structures burned,” said Smith, “but with the drought conditions and the head start this fire got, many more could very easily have been lost. This was a gallant effort by our firefighters.”
Residents between Courtney Lane and Suncrest Drive were allowed to return to their homes as of 6 p.m. last night, but the area is still closed to the public. Identification is required to access the area.
No estimate has been given for the reopening of Road 426 between Suncrest and Road 223, but Cal Fire and the Sheriff’s Office are communicating with evacuees to keep them informed and assist them with such things as retrieving pets and medications.
We will update as soon as more information becomes available.
Road 426 between Suncrest Drive to Road 223
Road 222 between Road 432 (Recreation Point) and Road 426
Road 426 between 222 and 223
Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Road 425B
Additional Information: Residents who need more information can go to www.fire.ca.gov or contact the Courtney Fire Information Line at 209-966-4784.