Firefighters gain edge on wildfire near Coarsegold, residents allowed home

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The evacuations orders have since been lifted but there is still work to be done for firefighters battling the Serpa Fire. (KFSN)

Firefighters have gained the upper-hand on the Serpa Fire.

The wildfire ripped through 80-acres near Coarsegold and forced hundreds of people out of their homes. The evacuations orders have since been lifted but there is still work to be done.

As it stands now, the fire is at 50 percent containment.

On this hillside, there are still columns of smoke from hot spots and that's what firefighters are focused on.

Meanwhile, the district attorney's office is searching for the cause.

By Friday morning, the flames from the Serpa Fire had already died down and every home that was evacuated, including Linda Santos', was still standing.

"Amazing, these guys are amazing who took care of everything," she said.

This was 24 hours after sheriff's deputies told her family to pack up and leave.

When the fire started, she could see it from her backyard.

Still, she managed to get out safely with her kids, her ex-husband, her five dogs, horses and one goat.

"We were just throwing my goat up here and they ran up and said, 'Your goat is not worth all your lives,'" Santos recalled.

Her family camped out in an RV as firefighters battled the flames overnight in the middle of dead trees and on steep terrain.

"Last night we had crews on the line that were working and we had trees that were falling left and right," Elizabeth Marks with Cal Fire said.

No one was hurt and investigators were able to pin down the point of origin, which was a ranch in the Serpa Canyon, the same place neighbors say a fire burned just a couple weeks ago.

Madera County District Attorney David Linn said the cause is unknown, there is no evidence of arson, so far but it hasn't been ruled out.

"If we find out this fire was started by a criminal or criminally started or violates the law of California, we will prosecute it to the max," he said.

At this point, firefighters are trying to keep the fire from sparking up again.

Homes are no longer at risk, but Santos is working on a better escape plan, just in case.

"We will now have a new preparation area for let's go, let's get it," she said.
Related Topics:
newsmadera countywildfirecal fireCoarsegold
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