Several homes were threatened briefly Friday night by a large grass fire on the southeastern outskirts of Merced.
Fourteen firefighters – 11 from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and three from the Merced Fire Department – responded at 10:06 p.m. to Cone Avenue and Tyler Road. About four acres of grassland burned, threatening homes for a short time before firefighters contained the large blaze.
Approximately 4 acres burned before the flames were extinguished, Battalion Chief Mark Pimentel said.
One small, empty building was leveled by the fire.
There were no injuries reported.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Many firefighters were slowed getting to the scene by motorists who stopped in the roadway, blocked intersections and got out of their cars to take cellphone photos and videos. Firefighters were forced to block the intersection to prevent people from driving through.
“It’s why we recommend weed abatement. Clearing the space around your property, around your buildings – it makes a difference when we have to stop a fire from spreading,” Pimentel said. “Especially in the summer when everything is dry and the temperatures are high.”