Fire near homeless camp quickly controlled

A half-acre blaze sparked from a debris fire directly behind a homeless encampment on Highway 41 and Winding Way at the north end of Oakhurst was quickly controlled Tuesday afternoon.

What began with initial flames at 1:49 p.m. developed into at least two spot fires, Cal Fire spokeswoman Karen Guillemin-Kanawyer said, before all fires were controlled at 2:23 p.m. by six engines from Cal Fire, Madera County Station 12, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Guillemin-Kanawyer said Cal Fire investigators are on the way to determine the cause of the quickly-stopped conflagration, though it was next to a well-known homeless camp, and outdoor cooking may have been to blame.

She said whatever the cause, the fire season has grown even more frightening.

“It’s so scary this year,” Guillemin-Kanawyer said. “We try to get these as fast as possible because they can go large in a hurry.”

Firefighting staff remained on scene to mop up remains, Guillemin-Kanawyer said.

On Aug. 18, 2014, the more-than-600-acre Junction Fire was sparked near a homeless camp off of Road 425A close to the Highway 41 and Highway 49 junction in Oakhurst. Three injuries were reported and 47 structures were consumed in the flames.

Smoky conditions remained in Oakhurst and the Mountain Area Tuesday as the Rough Fire near Hume Lake east of Fresno grew to 97,884 acres and was 31 percent contained.