Fire Season 2014: Hunters Fire Balloons to 1,300 Acres, More Fir - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Fire Season 2014: Hunters Fire Balloons to 1,300 Acres, More Firefighters on the Way

The Hunters fire burning in Mariposa continues to balloon, but crews say they made some steady gains Tuesday.

“Because of the complexity, and size, we will take a more intensive attack on the fire,” says Frank Bigelow, a Cal Fire Spokesman on this incident.

As of 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, the wildfire covers 1,300 acres and is 30% contained.

“The lines held today,” says Bigelow. “We got through the day unscathed.”

So far, the fire has destroyed two structures: one double-wide trailer, and a cabin-style home. Both were abandoned.

Just under 500 firefighters were on the call Tuesday evening. That number will swell dramatically Wednesday, as the incident is upgraded to what Bigelow described as a “type-one incident.” He says this will free up even more resources-- and firefighters-- to tackle the wildfire.

Five firefighters have been hurt in this incident. Two inmates were among them—one was cut with a chainsaw early Tuesday morning. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for 56 homes, but a total of 100 are still threatened by the fire.

Evacuees, including Janet Kirkland, were on pins and needles waiting to hear the latest from the evacuation center the Red Cross set up in nearby Cathey’s Valley.

“It’s stuff you watch on TV,” she says, saying she didn’t expect to receive an order to leave her home Monday night by Mariposa County Sheriff’s Deputies. She was out in less than two hours. “The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve had on since I got out of my house.”

She also managed to round up her two dogs. They are now in an animal shelter the Central California Animal Disaster Team has set up inside the fire station, just yards from the evacuation center.

“Pets are not allowed at Red Cross Centers, unless they are service dogs,” says Naomi Flam, who is President of the non-profit organization. “It’s very stressful on the pet owner because they don’t know what’s gonna happen to their homes, and it’s stressful to pets because they’re displaced from their usual environment.”

Kirkland left behind a bird. But she learned Tuesday afternoon that a neighbor rescued her feathered friend.

Kirkland says she’s ready for a long summer, and knows this could include even more wildfire scares.

She has lived in Hunter’s Valley for 26 years. She says another wildfire about five years ago reached her driveway.

So, she and neighbors make it a point to clear defensible space around their homes to help firefighters in their efforts.

“We’ve got the best firefighters in the world. Can’t do anything but praise them,” she says.

You can click here for updates from Cal Fire on this incident.

To donate to the non-profit Central California Animal Disaster team, click here.

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