A fire sparked across the street from the Broken Bit building in Coarsegold on Monday was quickly controlled by numerous emergency responders and 100% contained by Thursday morning.
Dubbed the “Broken Fire,” the blaze burned 103 acres on Veater Ranch before all forward progress was halted around 3:30 p.m. Monday.
The fire began shortly before noon, and was first reported at around five acres with a moderate rate of spread.
Around 1:30 p.m. Monday, the fire, with heavy amounts of spotting, reportedly jumped a hill near Veater Ranch and was traveling east, possibly towards Road 420.
Pre-evacuation orders were put in place for several areas near the fire, including around Alfonso’s Hideaway Mexican Restaurant. Traffic controls were requested on Highway 41 due to drivers reportedly pulling over to watch the flames, but the highway remained open. The pre-evacuation orders were lifted by Tuesday morning.
By 12:30 p.m., two air attack helicopters were fighting the fire with water from ponds on the Veater cattle ranch, along with four water tankers, multiple bulldozers, and more than a dozen engines.
Cal Fire Public Information Officer Jamie Williams said brushing work the Veater family has done over the past 10 years made the fire much less intense as it could have been.
“The house at the top of the hill on the ranch was saved primarily due to the good job that was done to provide defensible space around the home,” Williams said of one structure threatened by the blaze.
Williams said fire crews will remain on scene for a few days to mop up and watch for hot spots.
In addition to Cal Fire and Madera County fire crews, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol, U.S Forest Service, Station 19 Support Unit (food and water for firefighters), and Pacific Gas & Electric crews assisted in stopping the flames.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.