OAKHURST — A second night of cooler temperatures with higher humidity kept activity on the Railroad Fire to a minimum overnight.
The fire is now estimated at 12,353 acres with 64 percent containment.
Burning operations along firelines to the north and east of the community of Cedar Valley continued successfully throughout the night.
Crews will continue to extinguish hot spots along the perimeter of the fire.
Highway 41 is scheduled to reopen this afternoon, and travelers along the route can expect to see smoke within the fire area as interior islands and heavy down material smolder. They should also be aware that large equipment will still be traveling along the winding mountain road, and give them a wide berth when encountered.
The fire still remains active on the east side in the Big Sandy and Speckerman Mountain area, and it continues to back and creep through Nelder Grove.
Fire crews have begun suppression repair – repairing or improving land damaged during fire suppression and line construction activity. Resource Advisors from the Forest Service have identified the extent and the areas is which that is needed. Those repairs can vary depending upon the intended use of the affected area after the fire.
Resource Advisors also identify natural and cultural resources which may have been impacted during the fire, and have been actively involved throughout the incident.
Today’s forecast is calling for slightly higher temperatures, between 75 and 85 degrees, and a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms this afternoon, with gusty and erratic winds possible should those develop.
There are currently 1,079 personnel assigned to the incident, 6 injuries have been reported and 17 structures lost.
Update on evacuations and closures:
- The Fish Camp area was open to the public on Thursday, though people have had to access from the north as Highway 41 is closed until later this afternoon.
- Sky Ranch opened to residents only at 11:30 a.m. yesterday, up to Buckskin only.
- Sugar Pine is scheduled to be open to residents only at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
- Highway 41 will be open to everyone by 5 p.m. on Saturday.
- Cedar Valley – officials hope to reopen by the end of the weekend.
Road 620 (Bissett Station) remains under an evacuation advisory due to the spot fire just north toward Miami Motorcycle Trails.
Forest Road Closures:
- Road 632 (Sky Ranch) beyond Buckskin
- Forest Road 6S07 (Jackson Road) to Beasore
- Forest Road 5S10 at 5S39
- Forest Road 6S13 at Road 274
- Forest Road 6S08 at 6S36
- Forest Road 6S10 at 6S39
- Forest Road 6S99 at Beasore Road
- Forest Road 6S40 at Beasore Road
- Forest Road 6S40X at Beasore Road
- Forest Road 5S40Y at Beasore Road
- Worman Road one mile in from Highway 49 (at Road 601).
Still under a mandatory evacuation are Cedar Valley, Big Sandy Campground, Nelder Grove, Camp Redwood, Paradise Springs, Calvin Crest, and Soquel and Texas Flat campgrounds. The Narrow Gauge Inn, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, the community of Sugar Pine including the Christian Camp will be repopulated today.
Free food disposal for evacuees:
To assist residents returning to their homes after being evacuated for the Railroad and Mission Fires, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office along with the Public Works Department are providing disposal sites for food waste only.
Disposal sites are being provided at no cost and can be found at the following locations:
- Residents returning after the Railroad Fire may utilize the dumpster located in front of the office at the Sheriff’s Substation located at 48267 Liberty Drive in Oakhurst.
- Residents returning after the Mission Fire may utilize the North Fork Transfer Site at 33699 Road 274 in North Fork.
Residents must provide the Sheriff’s Office-issued entry pass or valid identification with your name and address from within the evacuation zone.
Passes are available at the Sheriff’s Substation, 48267 Liberty Drive, on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.