2014-09-04 / Front Page

Bridge Fire threatens all of Ponderosa Basin

Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 - 3:40 p.m. - The wildland blaze that began below the William Sell Bridge that spans the Chowchilla River on Highway 49 South is threatening the homes of some 2,500 Ponderosa Basin residents.

Fire officials estimated the fire had consumed around 100 acres as of 3:20 this afternoon.  The Bridge Fire, as it is now called, has law enforcement scrambling to evacuate residents of Ponderosa Basin and animal control officers assisting in removing livestock and pets.. The access to the Basin is basically a single road, Chowchilla Mountain Road.

Engines from all over Mariposa County and from the San Joaquin Valley are providing structure protection at this time, but one pilot in a spotter plane was heard over the radio to say that the fire was making "volatile runs" like he hasn't seen in a long time.

The tinder-dry brush and tall Ponderosa pines are providing fuel for the wind-driven blaze and no estimates of control or containment are available at this time from fire officials.

One fire fighter said this is possibly the worst place for a fire to take place in Mariposa County. Attacking the head of the fire in the rugged terrain of the river canyon is almost impossible, and fire fighters almost have to wait for the blaze to approach.

Traffic has been stopped before Chowchilla Mountain Road on Highway 49 South at this time. Residents are urged to avoid the area to allow fire fighting equipment and personnel to move freely.

A fire information phone number has been established at 966-1133.

Look for further details as they become available.Bridge Fire photos by Dan Tucker | The GazetteBridge Fire photos by Dan Tucker | The Gazette

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What a team; firefighters,

What a team; firefighters, sheriffs office, highway patrol, animal control, Red Cross, and ordinary citizens. We were recently evacuated from Ponderosa Basin, and got to see this team in action. Thank you so much, from a grateful resident.

Our brother and his wife with

Our brother and his wife with their grandchild live right off Harris Cutoff Road. Were told to leave quickly last night around five pm. Now staying at local friends house in Mariposa. We are praying for all firefighters and everyone involved helping local residents. Never know when a person or family needs to move fast from any danger. God be with everyone.

Prayers out to all the

Prayers out to all the firefighters engaging this very dangerous wild fire!

My family & I have spent many

My family & I have spent many happy days visiting Mariposa and staying at the basin with relatives. Such a beautiful place. We're sending our prayers, wishes and good thoughts from England - hoping you are all safe and that your homes stay protected and damage-free. Good luck to you all. Dave Cousland

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