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Forest Service officials see positive of Fish Fire after 100% containment

Forest Service officials are seeing the positive side of a fire that burned in the Sierra National Forest and has been fully contained.

The Fish Fire burned east of the Fish Creek Campground in Madera County near Mammoth Pool Reservoir and reached 77 acres before it was fully contained, Forest Service spokesman Alexander Olow confirmed Friday.

Firefighters mopped up hot spots and strengthened containment lines after stopping the spread of the fire, which burned near Minarets Road above the San Joaquin River.

The fire caused concern for fire crews since it ignited July 15 in an area with heavy brush and where the French Fire burned through 14,000 acres in 2014. The French Fire cost about $12 million to fight.

A day after the fire started, a few campers were evacuated from Fish Creek Campground for safety. Officials say smoke in the area may be the only disruption following containment.

There were no reports of damaged or burned structures or road closures due to the fire, which spread at a “moderate rate,” Olow said.

Though there was concern at first, Olow said the Fish Fire may have actually helped by limiting the fuel available in the region.

“The Fish Fire has cleaned the heavy accumulated brush and dead and downed trees, creating a fuel break,” Olow said.

That effect is expected to help reduce the fire danger to residential and recreational areas in the Sierra.

The cause of the Fish Fire remained under investigation.

At its peak, about 130 fire personnel were deployed to fight the fire. Three helicopters and two air tankers are involved. Cal Fire was called in to help, but crews were released shortly after responding.

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Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a general assignment reporter at The Fresno Bee. He grew up in Porterville and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Fresno State. He is a former student editor at the Fresno State and Fresno City College newspapers. His hobbies include reading, sleeping, running and taking care of his dog.
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