Fire near Four Lanes leads to evacuations

August 11, 2012 12:28:23 AM PDT
Fire crews are on the scene of a wildland fire in Fresno County. Homes along Beal Fire Road are threatened and mandatory evacuations are in place.

That fire is burning one mile north of Highway 168 and the Four Lanes, near Auberry.

The "Lanes Fire", as it's being called, started around 12:30 Saturday.

It burned steep terrain adjacent to the four lanes at Highway 168 in Fresno County.

People living along Beal Fire Road were placedunder a mandatory evacuation. Residents in the Meadow Lakes Subdivision were also advised they could be evacuated if the fire grew.

Cal Fire says there was zero percent containment of the fire as of 6 p.m. Saturday night. In addition, triple digit temperatures were impacting fire crews.

The first flames were spotted around 12:30 Saturday afternoon.

Fire crews from several agencies around the Valley rushed to the mountain side as flames burned quickly across 150 acres.

"We have Cal Fire crews here, inmate crews, bulldozers, aircraft. And other agencies around the valley and cal fire around the state," John Dominguez of Cal Fire said.

At this point crews say 200 homes are threatened by the fire. Fire crews say the Lanes Fire is no longer growing at a rapid pace, but crews do not have a fire line set up around the flames.

In addition to battling this wildfire crews are dealing with temperatures between 100 and 110 degrees.

"Fire fighters are being closely monitored, with their work levels and how much they are out on the line. They will be out on the line tomorrow. It is hot... encouraged to drink water and take breaks," Dominguez said.

It's not clear exactly how many firefighters were on scene. Cal Fire also says it's rotating crews on and off that fire line hoping to prevent any heat exhaustion.

Meanwhile, people who were hoping for a quick drive up the mountain this morning were hoping to beat the heat and swim at Shaver Lake, but instead many were detoured for longer than they expected.

"It was almost at a dead stop all the way down. There as fire engines and police cars and everything else there pulling people over," John Anders of Shaver said.

"It takes probably about another half an hour, 45 minutes," Mary Patorouorke of Monterey said.

"Traffic was almost immediately closed up the Four Lanes with the amount of equipment we ad traveling up the Four Lanes only," Dominguez said. "Because the fire was spreading rapidly up the Four Lane and into those areas that had homes we wanted to get equipment in with no accidents or people looking at the fire."

Despite the extra travel time, most people were concerned about those on the front lines.

"I am more concerned about the firemen, the people fighting the fire, I really worry about them in the heat," Jeannie Popovich of Clovis said.

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