OAKHURST – The Sky Fire, burning along Road 632 (Sky Ranch Road) is now estimated at 400 acres, with 15 percent containment.
The fire wasted no time heating up this morning, and the red glow of flames and a huge plume of smoke could be seen over Oakhurst as the sun rose.
Crews are working in some areas where 50 to 60 percent of the trees are dead, posing danger to firefighters, and presenting ready-made torches as the fire moves up the mountain.
Road closures and evacuations remain in place. Road 632 is closed from Highway 41. Brammer Pearl Road from Sugar Pine is also closed, along with Forest Service Road 6S40 off Beasore, and at Coldspring Summit, Road 6S10X off Beasore is also closed.
The dangers of driving in the area are very real. Yesterday, a Subaru, whose driver thought he was driving through a mud puddle, sank into deep clay and had to be pulled out of a very large hole.
There are also large boulders being dislodged from the hillsides as the fire changes the landscape.
The fireline runs from the point of ignition on Road 632, which is about a mile-and-a-half in from Highway 41, to the northeast and to the top of Sivils Mountain, around to Camp Redwood, and down Road 632.
A dozer line has been cut in around Camp Redwood, and as of this morning, it is still intact, as is Calvin Crest. There are no reports of incursion into Nelder Grove.
There has been some spotting across Road 632 to the west. It is a very winding mountain road, and the fire has jumped across the switchbacks in several places.
Incident Commander Mark Smith reports that firefighters are faced with extremely dry conditions, with the 10-hour fuel moisture levels at just 3 percent.
Though conditions are breezy, no frontal activity is expected to create strong winds.
Much of the terrain is not conducive to having dozers do the work of carving out firelines, so crews are faced with a lot of hard work digging hand lines.
There are currently about 350 personnel assigned to the incident, which is under joint command by the US Forest Service. As of 10 a.m. this morning, command will transition to a Type 2 Incident Management Team – the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team, who oversaw the French Fire last year.
The team will set up an Incident Command Post at the mill site in North Fork, relocating from Batterson Work Station just north of Oakhurst.
The Sky Fire was started when a truck pulling a trailer down the mountain caught fire, burned to the ground, and ignited the vegetation along the roadway. It was reported on Thursday, June 18, at 2:35 p.m.