The fire started around 4 p.m.Sunday near the Vine St. on-ramp to Highway 198 in Lemoore. The fire eventually spread into a neighborhood near the Lemoore Golf Course.
Hot and dry conditions certainly made it tougher for fire crews on Sunday, but the fire chief said many of the homes had not yet cleared a defensible space around their property.
Officials say the fire started near the highway and wind pushed the flames into a neighborhood. Fire crews continued to put out hot spots along Highway 198 for several hours Sunday night. Despite strong efforts, fire fighters could not save one home on Champion Street -- just one block from where the fire started.
The neighborhood is filled with eucalyptus trees. Lemoore Fire Chief John Gibson says the flames burned up into the trees, creating a fire storm. In all, about 70 fire fighters from Kings County and Lemoore Volunteer Fire Departments were out trying to control the flames. But, the thick dry brush made the fire fight extremely difficult.
Chief Gibson has a strong warning for those still waiting to clear a defensible space around their homes. "It is simply weed abatement that they need to do. And it's not just in the City of Lemoore, it's everywhere that's in the outskirts."
A woman and her adult son live in the home that was destroyed. The homeowner's grandchildren said they are devastated by what happened. They said they're grateful because fire fighters actually helped them save several dozen photos from inside the home before it was destroyed.
In the middle of all the chaos, there was a garage fire somewhere else in the city. Fire crews had to break off this fire to go put the other one out. Fortunately - no injuries have been reported.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation tonight.