Wildfire forces evacuations in Madera County

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Dozens of families are praying for their homes after a wildfire tore through North Fork consuming multiple buildings. (KFSN)

UPDATE: As of Saturday, authorities have lifted all mandatory evacuation orders but still advise caution. The fire is 60 percent contained.
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Dozens of families are praying for their homes after a wildfire tore through North Fork consuming multiple buildings. The call came in around six Friday afternoon and traffic continues to shut down in the area. The fire has so far burned 38 acres.

A typically dark and tranquil forest lit up by flashing lights and embers Friday night as a wildfire raged on under cover of darkness.

"We went into panic mode. We started grabbing our phones, our phone charges, our animals," said Melanie Ramirez, lives in evacuation area.

Ramirez said she stuffed her car to the roof with personal belongings after receiving a mandatory evacuation call from the Sheriff's Office.

"It asks you to evacuate immediately and if you understand to press 1, and of course we did, and we ran even faster to get into the cars."

Roughy 200 homes in the Cascadel Woods and South Fork area received the same order Friday afternoon. So far, the fire has destroyed 2 trailers and there have been multiple cars and outbuilding damaged as well.

"You have steep, ragged terrain in this area. You have very dry vegetation, heavy tree mortality, all of those elements combined makes it a very dangerous fire," said Jamie Williams, Cal Fire PIO.

The wildfire is at 20-percent containment, but firefighters have stopped it from progressing forward.

"We've had a total of six tankers, three helicopters, an air attack crew, we also have multiple engines," said Williams.

Cal Fire said crews will continue working through the night. Already some evacuations have been lifted, but for Ramirez who lives on Douglas Ranger Station Road the wait continues.

"I'm in a little bit of shock, but I am happy. I feel like they have a jump on it and we'll get to go home."

The Madera County Sheriff's Office has called in extra deputies to patrol the evacuated areas. They said they have a zero-tolerance policy for people not obeying orders and they will arrest people who are standing outside.
Related Topics:
newswildfiremadera countyNorth Fork
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