FRESNO COUNTY, California. (KGPE) – As firefighters continue to battle the fire at the Auberry Lumber Mill, residents are on high alert in case they have to leave.
Around 30 businesses were evacuated by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office after the Deck Fire broke out Wednesday near Frazier and Auberry roads.
Since then, the mandatory orders have been lifted, but evacuation warnings have residents in the mountain community ready to go at any moment.
“I called 911 and said, ‘Hey we got a fire across the street,” said Richard Templeton, an employee of Bruce’s Auberry Service Center.
It was a typical workday for Templeton until he stepped outside for lunch and saw flames across the street at the Auberry Lumber Mill.
“It was massive. I mean within minutes it grew bigger and bigger, within 20 minutes the whole place was on fire,” recalled Templeton.
Within the hour, Auberry Road was shut down as 130 firefighters worked on containing the blaze.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office evacuated 30 businesses and one motorhome for several hours but eventually reopened the area.
And while crews are making progress on the inferno, they ask the public to be prepared to leave at any moment.
“We do expect the wind to come through this evening, that is a downhill wind. We do want to plan for in case we get some more firebrands,” explained Cal Fire Division Chief Michael Bowman.
After being evacuated from his home last year for over a month due to the Creek Fire, Templeton says this year he is ready if told to pick up and leave.
“You are prepared. You know you have bins that I know get loaded into the truck. I take that and the animals and head out,” explained Templeton.