Carstens Fire won't prevent music festival from moving forward

Merced Sun StarJune 21, 2013 

Firefighters have gained the upper hand on the massive Carstens Fire, and that's music to the ears of Mariposa County residents -- literally.


U.S. Forest Service officials said Friday afternoon it's safe to travel to the Carter Ranch Music Festival in Bootjack. Bill White, public information officer with South Central Sierra Incident Management Team for the U.S. Forest Service, said firefighters initially weren't sure whether the show would be able to continue after the blaze, which has burned 1,660 acres,  erupted Sunday.


With the fire now 70 percent contained, however, the festival began as scheduled noon Friday. White said routes to the festival, Highway 140 to Triangle Road to Carter Road, are open.

The music festival includes more than 14 bands and will continue through Sunday, according to the event’s Facebook page.


The fire also failed to put the brakes on a wedding scheduled for this weekend in the Jerseydale area, White said. No homes are currently threatened by the fire.


It's still too early to tell when the fire will be 100 percent contained. White said firefighters are currently in "mop up" mode.


Firefighters believe the fire was caused by humans. Investigators have narrowed the point of origin to a campfire that wasn’t fully extinguished in the forest area below Plumbar Creek.


White said investigators haven’t yet determined who's responsible for the fire. Anyone with information about who started the fire is asked to call (209) 966-3476.


Other than one firefighter who suffered minor heat-related injuries, no one has been hurt.
White said all residents have been allowed to return to their homes. Evacuations previously happened in the areas of Jerseydale, Mariposa Pines, and Triangle and Darrah roads.


About 1,458 personnel from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service, the California Highway Patrol, the National Park Service, the Mariposa County sheriff's and other agencies continue to address the fire.


Officials said the price tag to fight the blaze is currently estimated at $5.6 million.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.

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