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Firefighters battling 1,300-acre fire – second large Mariposa County blaze in 24 hours

Watch time-lapse of Gaines Fire in Mariposa County

Firefighters are battling a large vegetation fire in Mariposa County on Aug. 16, 2019.
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Firefighters are battling a large vegetation fire in Mariposa County on Aug. 16, 2019.

Firefighters are battling a large vegetation fire in northwestern Mariposa County as residents are told to remain alert.

The Gaines Fire had spread to 1,300 acres with 30% contained as of 6:28 p.m. Saturday.

As of 6:55 a.m. Saturday, the fire was at 1,300 acres and had a 15% containment, according to Cal Fire. That apparently represented progress in the firefight; Friday evening, it was at 1,300 acres and 5% containment.

The fire started Friday and reached more than 100 acres without any containment by 2 p.m. and had grown to 500 acres by about 4 p.m.

Approximately 20 structures are threatened but none are damaged or destroyed. The structures are mostly residential and residents were alerted about the fire but no evacuations have been put in place for the time being.

It’s the the second large blaze in less than a day in the area northeast of Hornitos.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief David Scheurich said Bear Valley Road has been closed off except for residents nearby.

By 7 p.m. Saturday, Mariposa County Sheriffs Office lifted all fire advisement and road closures, but still stressed people use caution when driving in the area. There still could be suppression equipment in the area, as well as fire personnel.

The sheriff’s office previously sent a fire advisory at 4:12 p.m. Friday for the areas of Pedola Gardens Road, Corbett Creek, Gold Dust Lane, Old Toll from Hornitos to Pendola Gardens, Highway 49 from Bear Valley Road to Pendola Gardens, and Bear Valley Road Highway 49 to Hunters Valley Road.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell said Saturday that the sheriff’s office is working closely with Cal Fire to alert residents of any changes in the fire’s movement. She said potential Red Cross evacuation shelter areas were identified at the start of the fire in case they are needed.

“We’re always concerned with every fire, no matter how big or small,” Mitchell said. “We take every fire with the same urgency.”

The sheriff’s office noted the advisory notice for residents was not an evacuation order. It was unclear how many people live in the area under advisement.

Previously, the Hunter Fire, located just east of Snelling in Mariposa County, burned 423 acres before it was fully contained on Friday morning. As of Saturday, Cal Fire was battling six active wildfires in the state.

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