The Bridge Fire started about 12:39 p.m., near the William Sell Bridge between Mariposa and Nipinnawasee, and has quickly reached 300 acres. Because of the threat to several homes, an estimated 2,500 Ponderosa Basin and Harris Cutoff Road residents have been evacuated.
Woodland Elementary School and Mariposa County High School students who live in the Ponderosa Basin were asked to stay on local campuses until family members can pick them up. If needed, parents can call Woodland at (209) 742-0310, or the high school at (209) 742-0260.
Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at New Life Christian Fellowship Church on Cole Road near the intersection of Highway 49 South and Darrah Road. Small animals are being evacuated to this site, and larger animals are being evacuated to the Mariposa Fairgrounds.
Several Cal Fire crews and engines responded to the scene, as well as a DC-10, 91 engines, three helicopters, 22 hand crews, 17 bulldozer crews, eight water tankers, five tankers, two air attack planes, and two lead planes. About 3 p.m., the fire gained ground and was becoming more volatile as it headed towards the southerly end of the basin.
The fire has reached 300 acres and continues to grow as crews try to get a handle on the situation.
All roads to the Ponderosa Basin remain closed and Highway 49 has been reduced two one lane traffic escorted by the CHP.
As 10 p.m. 700 homes have been evacuated along with five businesses. The fire is 0% contained and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The public is advised to use alternate routes and/or to expect delays on Highway 49. Call Cal Trans automated road conditions line at (800) 427-ROAD (7623) for the latest road conditions.
For fire information, call (209) 966-1133.