More wildfires near YLP

cgeorge@sierrastar.comJune 26, 2013 

Firefighters extinguish hot spots on a wildfire Sunday that threatened about 20 structures in Yosemite Lakes Park, including this home visible from Road 400.

CARMEN GEORGE/SIERRA STAR — Carmen George/Sierra Star

Two nine-acre vegetation fires off River Road (400) on Sunday and Tuesday near Yosemite Lakes Park threatened more than 20 homes, with flames coming within a couple feet of several. No structures were damaged due to the fires.

A half acre fire off of Revis Circle East in YLP Tuesday night was quickly extinguished and resulted in the detainment and arrest of two individuals charged with arson (see story on Page A1).

Sunday's nine-acre fire started on Road 400 between Rivergold Elementary School and Yosemite Springs Parkway, growing uphill towards Starlight Court in YLP. Tuesday's fire started on Road 400 near Mountain Ranch Way, several miles away from the back entrances to YLP.

"Firefighters got on this fire very fast — I'm very grateful," said resident Martha Fairfield about the Sunday fire off Road 400. "They are hard workers and we pray for them. Our 5-year-old granddaughter baked the firefighters cookies recently. Whenever she hears of another fire, she always says, 'Our heroes are at work again.'"

YLP has been hit by more than a dozen vegetation fires since June 8, including a rash of eight fires in three days.

While not all of the fires are suspicious, "We do have an issue with respect to arson in the YLP area," said Nancy Koerperich, Cal Fire unit chief for the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit, earlier this month during a community meeting.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Chris Christopherson said residents can help fire investigators by providing detailed descriptions of suspicious activity. Residents can call an Cal Fire arson hotline at 1-800-47-ARSON.

The cause of the recent fires remain under investigation, Christopherson said.

"People need to be vigilant about getting their clearance; doing the right thing in the right way. (Mowing and weed eating) in the morning, not in the afternoon when it's windy or hot," he said.

"Get as much clearance as you can around your house, including getting overhanging limbs away from roofs," said Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, also the captain of volunteer Station 17 in O'Neals. "That really helps us."

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