COARSEGOLD — Two fires in the Coarsegold area this afternoon forced the closure of Highway 41 between Serpa Canyon and the top of Deadwood, sending locals and firefighters scrambling to douse the flames.
At about 2:30 p.m., crews were called out to reports of a fire burning across the road from the Broken Bit north of the village in Coarsegold. Passersby stopped in an attempt to put it out with a fire extinguisher, and a full wildland dispatch called out for what was named the Broken Fire.
The first unit at scene reported the fire at about one acre with a moderate rate of spread.
Meanwhile, minutes later, a second fire was reported to be burning in grass on the west side of Highway 41 near Road 425B on top of Deadwood.
At 2:40 p.m. CHP implemented a hard closure between Coarsegold and Deadwood to allow fire equipment safe access and keep the public out of danger in the narrow canyon. By 2:50 p.m., firefighters had a hose lay around the perimeter.
The fire on Deadwood was reported to have been put out by locals after reaching about 20 feet in size. Julie Lepley of Lepley Trees says employees Dakota West, Mark Jenning, Rick Whitener and Pedro Infante were among those on scene offering assistance. The fire was contained at 2:51 p.m.
At 2:55 p.m. all resources not already at scene of the Broken Fire were cancelled except one ground crew. Crews held the fire at less than one acre.
One-lane of traffic was put in place just before 3 p.m., and by 3:30 p.m. both lanes were reopened.
The cause of both fires remains under investigation.