Wind, tall grass help Oakwood Fire spread fast

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. - Multiple agencies worked all day Saturday to keep the fast-growing Oakwood Fire at bay. Crews were first dispatched around 1:30 p.m. to the area around Oakwood Road and Road 209.

By air and on the ground, around 130 firefighting personnel fought the blaze. Jaime Williams, spokeswoman for CalFire, said the tall grass gave the fire a lot of fuel and the wind helped the flames spread quickly. She said the area itself also was an obstacle, giving crews poor access to the fire.

At 4:30 p.m., the fire was only reported to be 100 acres. Just an hour and a half later the fire was reporter to be more than 600 acres.

Close to 5 p.m., the smoke began to cross Highway 41. Crews eventually closed the highway from Highway 145 and Road 200. The closure was still in effect at 11:30 p.m.

Jon Shadt, from Fresno, thought he'd take advantage of the sunny day on his motorcycle with a friend before he hit the block.

"It was a lovely day for a ride," Shadt said. "We were just coming down and all of a sudden there's smoke."

Williams said the fire has threatened one structure, but fortunately there have been no injuries.

Desiree Vega also ran into the closure while she was heading to her niece's graduation party. With this just the beginning og the fire season, she said this could be a sign of worse things down the road.

"It actually is very scary. I'm not going to be too affect by it, I live in [Fresno], but it is devastating for [those who live in this area]. It is devastating," she said.

There was another fire nearby at Hensley Lake. It only grew to five acres and was contained pretty fast.

The cause of both fires is still under investigation.


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