A wildfire burning in Sierra National Forest north of Fresno started Monday night when high winds pushed flames from smoldering burn piles into the forest.
The wildfire had burned at least 150 acres approximately six miles southeast of North Fork on Tuesday afternoon. The fire was around 5 percent contained with approximately 80 firefighters working to extinguish it, said Daniel Tune, fire prevention battalion chief for Sierra National Forest. No structures or homes were threatened.
The blaze, named the Ponderosa Fire, started in the Bass Lake Ranger District along a fuel break – an area where firefighters had cleared vegetation to prevent future wildfires from reaching the communities of North Fork and Cascadel Heights. Tune said firefighters were burning piles of vegetation there last week and didn’t expect Monday’s high winds.
The fire was reported around 9 p.m. Earlier Monday, Tune said Sierra National Forest staff had checked on the piles and cleared vegetation around them.
Tune said firefighters were making good progress fighting the blaze. A controlled burn scheduled for Tuesday within Blue Canyon south of Shaver Lake was canceled due to high winds.
Update Dec. 6: According to SNFS, Reduction in acreage due to more accurate mapping, the fire has burned 120 acres, containment has increased to 30%. The arrival of additional resources and moderating wind speeds has allowed fire crews to make excellent progress yesterday. The forward fire spread has been stopped, fire crews will continue work to strengthen the containment lines. There are 4 fire engines, 5 hand crews, 2 bulldozers, and 105 personnel assigned.