Mariposa County Fire 45% Contained

June 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The "Oliver Fire" in Mariposa County has burned over 26-hundred acres of forest land. Firefighters say it is only 45 percent contained.An evacuation warning is still in place in Mariposa County. With smoke and flames just a short distance away, residents of the Ponderosa Basin are more than a little nervous.

Kristin Montgomery and her family live in one of the dozen or so homes ordered evacuated because of the danger. She says," You worry about the house, you worry about the cats that wouldn't come and top of that we're living out of a camper and I've got suitcases four kids two dogs three kittens. It's been a bit hectic, so, it's been nerve wracking."

Kristen and dozens of other residents crowded a meeting at the local fire station, to find out what's going on. They're being told that after nearly a week firefighters are getting the upper hand.

Mikel Martin of Cal Fire says," I feel very confident right now that the area is fairly safe. But we in the wild land fire community know we work at the whim of Mother Nature."

The fire was caused by a lightning storm last Saturday and has consumed more than two thousand acres. It's one of nearly a thousand blazes burning throughout the state. The biggest problem is finding enough personnel and equipment to fight the fire, and keep homes and property safe. But most residents say they feel they're being protected.

Ponderosa Basin resident Don Lewis says, "I think they're doing all they can do. So, I feel confident."

His neighbor Marlene Johnson feels the same," No, I don't think we're gonna lose our homes, I think they've pretty well got it under control."

Despite the optimism, 12 families were disappointed they won't be allowed back in their homes just yet. But Kristin Montgomery says she understands, "So they're just being really cautious in not letting us back home, so it's good news they're being cautious. It's not the news you want to hear. You want to hear they're going to let you back home tomorrow, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen."

Cal Fire officials estimate the fire will not be contained until after the Fourth of July.


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