Fast-burning fire in Oakhurst

August 18, 2014 

Just before 2 p.m. this afternoon, fire crews responded to a fire located behind the Oakhurst Sears store, off Highway 49.

Firefighters fought the fire - named the Junction Fire — from the top of 425A and from the Highway 49 location. Within less than an hour, the fast-burning fire had burned 90 acres. By early evening, that number had grown to 500 acres, with approximately 300 homes threatened.

All traffic trying to enter 425A from Highway 41 were stopped by the California Highway Patrol. People were allowed to walk in if they wanted to, but the road was kept clear for fire engines, fire crews and other fire related traffic.

By 4:45 p.m., over a loud speaker, California Highway Patrol had advised business owners at or near Sweetwater, to close and leave the area for their own safety. Minutes later, the fire jumped the highway heading towards Hidden Falls Road, threatening Mountain Home School.

Other evacuations were ordered along Road 620, Old Stage Road, and Road 222. Jean Road East and West, Scott Road, Taylor Mountain, and the entire John West Road subdivision. Highway 41 was closed from the Talking Bear at Road 426 to the old Mountain House on Road 222.

Initially, displaced residents were advised to evacuate to the Oakhurst Community Center. By 6 p.m., these evacuees were advised to move down to the Coarsegold Community Center via the following route: east on Road 426 to Road 223 to Road 221 to Road 200 to Highway 41.

Fire bombers and a helicopter were attacking the blaze as spotter planes circled above. According to Cal Fire, propane tanks were an issue, and homes were burning all over.

By 8 p.m., the Junction Fire remained at zero containment.

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