Fires ignite in foothills

The Fresno BeeJune 17, 2013 

— Two separate fires ignited Sunday in the San Joaquin Valley foothills, each burning more than 1,000 acres and forcing some Mariposa County residents out of their homes, Cal Fire said.

The first fire ignited about 2:10 p.m. off of Carstens Road, east of Highway 140 near Midpines in the Sierra National Forest. The Carstens fire, as it's called by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, quickly grew to more than 1,000 acres because of winds and dry grass.

An evacuation warning was given to residents in the Clarks Valley and Jerseydale areas and an evacuation center was set up at Mariposa County Elementary School, Cal Fire dispatcher Sean Bowe said.

A command post has been set up for the fire near Darrah at the intersection of Triangle and Jerseydale roads, he said.

A second fire ignited just after 6 p.m. near Highways 41 and 145 near the popular 22-Mile House gas station in Madera County, en route to Yosemite National Park. As of 7:30 p.m., the fire had charred more than 1,000 acres and had the potential to grow as large as 4,000 acres, Bowe said.

Aircraft are being used to battle the fires. Firefighters from the city of Fresno and Fresno County were called in to assist.

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