Crews fully contain wildfire near Bass Lake

The Pines Fire was fully contained on Tuesday, which crews say is fortunate because of where it burned.
The Pines Fire is now fully contained, which crews say is fortunate because of where it burned. The fire burned six acres on the east side of Bass Lake, on a steep hillside and through thick brush and large trees.

The U.S. Forest Service says the wildfire started around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Fire crews worked late into the night clearing some brush and putting out hot spots. A lot of what they credit for putting out this fire so quickly is retardant drops. They say that kept this fire from spreading.

Firefighters with the Sierra National Forest say within 15 minutes of a forest lookout spotting the smoke and flames, helicopters and air tankers began dropping water and retardant.

"There were so many resources that they pulled in," said evacuee Dorothy Miller.

When Miller got a call from a friend about the fire, she rushed home to get her personal items. She was preparing for what she thought would be a long evacuation.

"When we got up to our house there were four engines, one in our driveway, to protect our house," Miller said.

The Millers could see the flames and smoke from their house on Fawn Point Lane. Firefighters say the flames charged up the hillside, but the aerial drops stopped the fire at just six acres of burned land.

"It slows down, if not stops all together at the retardant line," said Deputy Chief Van Arroyo with the Sierra National Forest.

Arroyo says this is the driest time of any year, and given our extreme drought he and his crew feared they'd see another situation like the Junction Fire. That fire just last week destroyed several homes and businesses in Oakhurst.

"Given the history of this summer, with all of the fires that have occurred, the Junction Fire of last week, we're making sure that we keep all of our stations staffed up with firefighting personnel and equipment needed to do the job," Arroyo said.

And the Millers are grateful for the quick action. "They're the reason we got back in our house in two hours," Dorothy said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but firefighters tell Action News it looks like the fire may have started somewhere near the road.

Related Topics:
news wildfire fire evacuation madera county Bass Lake
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