FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Action News drove through the Cascadel Woods area around noon, every visible home stood unscathed.
Off in the distance, several plumes of smoke still rose from the hillside, and flames were burning along one section of Cascadel Drive South.
Firefighters circled the blaze with hoses and chainsaws preparing to keep it from spreading toward nearby houses. Oakhurst residents are also hoping crews can contain the fire before it reaches their community.
"I'm really concerned. We came down here to ask the officers how far the fire was away, and they said it's about eight miles from here so we don't have a mandatory evacuation right now, but a lot of people have lost their homes up here," says Oakhurst resident Jim Botheras.
Botheras and his wife made the decision to leave their home after an evacuation warning went into effect because of the two young grandchildren in their care.
He says, "You never know, and when you've got little kids you've got to take care of them."
Many evacuees are concerned about the potential of looters, but Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue says authorities are working around the clock to protect evacuated homes.
He explains, "We've canceled all days off for deputies. We've also called a mutual aid from several surrounding agencies. It's all hands on deck right now, not only patrolling to keep people safe, but also to keep their property safe while they're gone."
While patrolling around North Fork, deputies stopped one truck as a second one pulled up behind it on Road 224 at Quail Hollow Court. They say the drivers had warrants, and they discovered bomb-making materials, two unregistered guns, and meth in the first truck. A man and woman were both arrested at the scene.
Sheriff Pogue says, "We don't really know the circumstances as to why this material may have been in their possession or what they were doing with it. It may just be coincidence, and in all likelihood that's probably the case, but at this point we just don't know so we're investigating and we'll see where that investigation takes us."
The Sheriff says those suspects are both North Fork residents, and he does not believe they were out stealing from any other homes.
He also said he wants to get residents back into their neighborhoods as soon as possible, but his department is continuing to work with the fire management team to make sure it's safe before lifting any orders.
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