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Despite initial threats, Camp Fire above Bass Lake quickly brought under control

An air tanker makes a retardant drop on the Camp Fire, sparked in the early afternoon of June 27, 2017 on Central Camp Road above Road 274 at Bass Lake.
An air tanker makes a retardant drop on the Camp Fire, sparked in the early afternoon of June 27, 2017 on Central Camp Road above Road 274 at Bass Lake. Sierra Star

A fire sparked on Central Camp Road only a few miles above Bass Lake Tuesday afternoon initially had officials planning out evacuation orders, but the blaze was quickly brought in line thanks to rapid response by firefighters both on the ground and in the sky.

Named the Camp Fire, the wildfire was initially reported around 1 p.m. about 5 miles up Central Camp Road from its intersection with Road 274 near the lake. A Sierra National Forest official later said the flames were closer to less than two miles up the road. He added, around 3:15 p.m., that hose was nearly around the entire inferno.

By 3:30 p.m., the fire was around 5-10 acres, with two helicopter attack crews, five to six engines, a water tender, three ground crews on order, and four air tankers making retardant drops to keep it from spreading. Two tankers were called off around 3:45 p.m. and all forward progress was stopped shortly before 5 p.m.

That same official with the Sierra National Forest, the agency leading efforts to stop the flames due to it being on forest land, said no evacuations would be necessary. SNF crews were being assisted by Cal Fire, the Madera County Fire Department, and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.

At one point, guests at Bass Lake were relocated from the dam area so helicopters could fly in and fill large buckets for air drops. Eleven campers in the Central Camp area were also advised about the flames, but no evacuations were ordered.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Initial reports indicated it may have been due to a woman crashing on an ATV, but those details couldn’t be immediately confirmed.

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