Mission Fire threatens hundreds of homes near North Fork

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Fire crews from around the state started this holiday sweating, cutting lines and dumping water on the growing flames of the Mission Fire. (KFSN)

Fire crews from around the state started this holiday sweating, cutting lines and dumping water on the growing flames of the Mission Fire. Firefighters are navigating steep terrain and other dangers that are making the wildfire even more hazardous.

Over 350 Firefighters are there and more are on the way. It is very smoky, so planes haven't been able to fly. Right now 200 homes remain under evacuation.

"We're now recovering from the drought that's plagued us for nearly a decade now," "Mike Smith with Calfire said. "As a result, we have a very large grass crop - something we haven't seen in the last few years. What that gives us is fuel continuity. It connects these larger stands. For instance, it connects trees in the mortality areas to areas of brush and trees in other areas. That's not a problem we've had to deal with in the last five to 10 years."

On Sunday and into Monday, Madera County deputies flagged homes where residents were personally notified to evacuate. Many North Fork residents weren't home at the time and showed up Monday looking for more updated information. Some needed medication or to check on their pets.

"Fortunately a young firefighter we know, which is the great thing about a small community, was up there," Wanda Leon of North Fork said. "Got to our home, he was fighting the fire, but he gave us a report that the dogs were fine which was good to know."

"I found out when I got up here, the whole mountain was on fire," Tex McDonald. "I felt, I was stressed out. My dogs are up there and I was worried about them."

Shane Killian's plans to enjoy the extended weekend outdoors abruptly came to an end Sunday afternoon.

"I came out of the Dinkey Lakes area," he said. "We were camping and I had all these calls that there was a fire in our backyard. And then I get here and the road is still blocked and they aren't letting me go into my house."

Smoky conditions are making it difficult for crews to map out the fire and get a better look at the damage. Firefighters are monitoring the weather closely, and the potential of a storm system passing through.

"We expect warmer temperatures, this higher humidity and the potential for thunderstorms," Smith said. "The problem for firefighters is those thunderstorms also bring variable winds and the collapse of those thunder cells over our incident would cause this incident to spread."

Firefighters say they made good progress. The inversion layer kept fire conditions suppressed. Since there are so many wildfires right now, some crews are being called in from the western united states to respond here.

Related Topics:
wildfiremadera countyevacuationNorth Fork
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