Firefighters say they’ve turned the corner on the Railroad Fire and plan to reopen Highway 41 Saturday, while the Mission Fire, near North Fork, remained within its containment lines overnight.
The Railroad Fire was reported Friday morning at 12,141 acres - minor growth from 12,099 the night before - and 50% contained, with 1,045 personnel on assignment.
Today (Sept. 8), firefighters said they plan to lift the mandatory evacuation order for Fish Camp and Tenaya Lodge at noon, followed by the reopening of Sky Ranch at 5 p.m. to residents only.
Tomorrow (Sept. 9), the residents of Sugar Pine will be allowed to return home at 3 p.m., followed by the full reopening of Highway 41 at 5 p.m. through to Yosemite National Park.
Officials hope to reopen Cedar Valley, where burning operations were underway Thursday, by the end of the weekend. The Evergreen Conference Center of Oakhurst (ECCO) and The Grove were being treated as part of Cedar Valley, officials said, not the Sky Ranch area as was reported Thursday night.
Seventeen structures have been lost to the blaze, five of them homes, five as historic structures, and seven outbuildings, officials said.
To help expedite the process before returning home, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office will have forms ready for residents to fill out at the Oakhurst substation. Residents will need to provide documentation they live in the evacuated home.
All can be assured that when they return home over the next few days, their homes and communities will already be “re-energized” with power restored, Pacific Gas and Electric Company spokesman Denny Boyles said.
Six injuries have been reportedly suffered by firefighters fighting the blaze, as well as the tragic death of Gary Helming, a battalion chief from Santa Lucia who was killed in a car crash on the way home. His funeral services were held Wednesday.
Residents can call (559) 373-0040 for more information on the Railroad Fire.
Mission Fire stays at 1,035 acres
Firefighters made significant progress overnight to construct control lines into Friday morning on the Mission Fire east of North Fork, officials said, as it remained at 1,035 acres and was now 50% contained.
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday morning that mandatory evacuations in the Cascadel Woods area would be lifted to residents only. Click here for details.
An evacuation advisory south of Road 225 was lifted Thursday afternoon.
For updating information on the Mission Fire, visit http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/1809.
Peak Fire update
Thursday evening, the Peak Fire in Mariposa, which started near Usona Road and Indian Peak on Sunday, was reported as 95% contained at 680 acres. Three homes, three outbuildings, and two RVs were destroyed, with no injuries.
The cause of all three fires is under investigation.
Editor’s note: During a Thursday meeting on the Railroad Fire, officials said residents of the ECCO and The Grove areas were going to be allowed back home at 5 p.m. Friday. However, that information changed, per a phone call to Madera County Sheriff’s officials Friday morning, so the areas were being included as part of Cedar Valley, which remains under mandatory evacuation with the hopes of reopening by the end of the weekend.