Road crews cutting down dead trees along Highway 41 near Sugar Pine to curb fire danger

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They are being taken down because they are in danger of falling down on Highway 41. (KFSN)

Trees are once again falling in the Sugar Pine area.

But unlike the timber felled here a century ago, these trees aren't headed for the lumber mills. They are being taken down because they are in danger of falling down on Highway 41.

"We are removing hazard trees from the fire," Adam Wimderly with Caltrans said. "These trees have been stressed due to the drought, due to the bark beetle, and now with the fire, they certainly need to come down for public safety."

The Railroad Fire, named for the historic Sugar Pine Railroad, started a week ago on a ridge above the railway station. The former timber hauling train is now a tourist attraction but it was damaged by the fire which also destroyed nearby homes.

The fire also charred the concrete tomb holding the remains of one of Sugar Pines pioneers - Theresa Kane. Born in 1864, she died in 1945. A plaque on an adjacent tree honors her late husband Josiah.

The fire continues to grow and threatens the living. The fire is moving down into the Cedar Valley area, close to more than 200 homes.

"Now if the winds change, like we had last night then this fire is going to move very quickly downhill and move quickly in the Cedar Valley area," Ralph Gladwin. "We have three strike teams plus and dozers to protect Cedar Valley, give it our best shot."

Firefighters are working to keep more homes from being destroyed, and as to the Sugar Pine Railroad, they hope to reopen once the fire is out.

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madera countywildfireMadera County
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