Fire crews mop up Yosemite Lakes Park fires

MADERA COUNTY, Calif.

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The fires broke out around noon Sunday near Ranger Circle and North Dome in the Yosemite Lakes Park neighborhood.

Fire crews will be out checking on hot spots along the hillside near Yosemite Lakes Park through Tuesday. Cal Fire says there is a lot of brush in that area that may still be smoldering.

Helicopters and airplanes helped lead an aerial fire fight dropping water and fire retardant on the flames because the terrain in Yosemite Lakes Park is tough to navigate.

"We're tackling a lot of heavy brush, this particular hill is very steep. It hasn't burned in many years," said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Lisa Anderson.

Several residents say the fire came too close for comfort.

"You could hear the fire burning, then they started dropping the retardant and the water from the helicopters," said Pat Althizer.

The Madera County Sheriff's Office ordered evacuations for homes close to the flames, so many people packed their valuables into their cars and left their homes...

"20 years of stuff accumulated, you don't want to lose. We got as much as we could," said Ralph Brewster.

Some spent the afternoon at a Red Cross evacuation center set up at Minarets High School.

After nearly 6 hours battling the flames, Fire crews contained the two afternoon blazes and people were allowed back into their homes.

Ralph Brewster said this close call is a lesson learned for his family. "We did a pretty good job, I think. If we'd had a drill I don't think we'd do much better, but we're going to have a drill now."

Cal Fire crews say they will likely be out searching for hot spots as late as Tuesday. One of the fires was caused by a riding lawn mower.

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