When the lookout at Shuteye Peak called in a smoke at Darrah Road & Highway 49 just after noon yesterday, Sept. 12, it seemed just another small fire beside the road.
But then, the call came in that there was a second smoke on Darrah Road, and then a third and a fourth. The troops were mobilized from Mariposa County Fire, Cal Fire, and the inmate crew from Mt. Bullion.Then the CHP was called in to control traffic in the area and allow responders to get to the scene by closing Darrah and Triangle Roads.Triangle Road was opened shortly after all the fires were located, but folks living farther out on Darrah had to turn around and use Triangle to take the long way around to get home.
Lucy Zimmerman lives just off the road closure area on Whispering Pines. “I was about to go to the store and my husband was out in the tool shed when we heard sirens,” she said. “Then we looked out and there was the Forestry, and the place was on fire!”
Fortunately for Lucy and the other residents of this rural area just northeast of Bootjack, all four of the fires were held to less than a quarter of an acre, and nothing burned but the dry vegetation along the winding roadway.
It is not known what started the fire, but there was conjecture among folks along the route that perhaps a trailer dragging a chain, or a bad catalytic converter…. no one knows, and Cal Fire will have to investigate. But the fires were perhaps a quarter to a half-mile apart and were all on the right side of the road heading northeast out of Bootjack.
As is generally the case, air attack and dozers were dispatched, but were called off when ground crews had “The Darrah Incident” in hand.
The fires were called contained and controlled at 2:45 p.m., and Darrah road was re-opened to traffic.
No injuries were reported and quick work by fire crews kept any structures from being seriously threatened, though there were certainly many in the area.