Junction Fire update

Staff ReportAugust 18, 2014 

As of 10 p.m. Monday evening the Junction Fire in Oakhurst reached 1,200 acres and continues to grow with 0% containment.

According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Officer Chris Christopherson, with more than 600 firefighting personnel on scene, and more reinforcements on the way, crews will continue to work throughout the night fighting the fire.

"Crews will be working throughout the night to defend homes and we will have more resources available to engage the fight tomorrow," Christopherson said.

According to Christopherson eight structures have been lost in the fire with an additional 500 threatened.

Fire crews from across the Central Valley are on scene to help prevent further spread and as of this evening Highway 41 between Highway 49 and Road 222 has been closed as well as Road 222 between Highway 41 and Petite Road.

An evacuation shelter was initially established at the Oakhurst Community Center but because of increasing smoke the shelter was moved to the Coarsegold Community Center where more than 200 people have found refuge. An additional evacuation location will be set up although there is no information yet on where. People will be notified through the media when evacuated areas are safe for return.

As of tomorrow a Type-I Incident Management Team will be setting up a command center at the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park and according to sources personnel is expected to grow to more than 2,000 over the next few days as fire crews continue to assess and combat the fire.

According to Christopherson the fire has been difficult to deal with due to high winds and rough terrain.

"It was very steep terrain and the biggest challenges have been the wind and because of the drought conditions we are seeing spot fires," Christopherson said.

Air support was halted for the remainder of the evening due to safety restrictions but will continue at first light.

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