Update: Strong Winds Fueled Several Fires

May 21, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The largest is still burning northeast of Sanger near Avocado Lake.The fire has slowed down considerably. The winds have died down overnight and the temperatures have dropped too.

Firefighters worked through the night, making good progress on Fresno County's first big wildfire of the season.

Right now it's burning through the best grass on the hill. Fire crept down the hill and over the ridge as it burned more than 2,000 acres.

Nightfall brought calmer winds and cooler temperatures but also new dangers for firefighters. More than 200 worked on the fire, but many of them came from out of town. "We have firefighters that have never been in this area. "It's steep terrain, it's rocky, and now we're putting firefighters up here at night, in the dark," said Chris Christopherson with Fresno County Cal-Fire.

Smoke and flames spread fast during the daylight hours as the fire threatened as many as 30 homes. Some neighbors evacuated voluntarily while others waited and watched. "If it makes it to that fence, I'll get concerned. And they said at that point, we might think of evacuating," said property owner Randy Pennebaker.

Firefighting planes dumped flame retardant to control the path of the flames and crews positioned themselves outside every threatened home.

The strategy held strong into the night, but neighbors worried about the fire line to the right in this video.

One property owner watching his own land burn, hoped the flames would stay put on his land. "If it jumps this ridge, Wonder Valley is in trouble, a lot of homes there. So you protect the homes, you don't worry about my range land," said property owner Pete Filippi.

One firefighter was brought down with a serious knee injury.

Firefighters had the fire 25% percent contained Tuesday night, they expect to have it fully contained by 6 pm today.


Load Comments