FRESNO COUNTY, California. (KSEE) – Residents near Millerton Lake are breathing a sigh of relief as firefighters make good progress containing a wildfire that broke out Wednesday afternoon.
“The Gold Fire” started around 1:00 p.m. at the Fine Gold Recreation Area, near the popular pincushion trail.
The latest update from Cal Fire/Fresno County Fire had the fire at 53 acres and 20% contained.
Isaac Maltos and his Sky Harbor Road neighbors kept a watchful eye on the fire as smoke billowed on the hillside just.
“I looked toward the park and saw the smoke and I was like, ‘uh oh,’” said Maltos. “It was looking pretty nasty for a minute.”
While Isaac held his breath on the ground, in swooped the Fresno County Sheriff’s Eagle One helicopter from above, searching for any hikers left on the pincushion trail.
Air lifting a couple far out on the trail and later another hiker, bringing all three to safety.
“I think we are fortunate this happened in the middle of the week rather than a weekend, we would probably of had to get a lot more resources to get everyone out,” said Tony Botti, a sheriff’s office spokesperson.
Fire crews say Millerton Lake was key in fighting this fire.
Not only did it provide a barrier for flames on three sides of the fire, but it also gave crews quick access to water for airdrops.
“As far as getting up there, the steep terrain does pose a challenge to us with getting equipment and personnel up there obviously it takes time,” said Fresno County Fire Assistant Chief Michael Bowman.
With homes unscathed and containment on the rise, residents avoided evacuations but some were ready just in case.
“You live in the mountains you always got to worry about that, especially now with the drought and you look around, everything has turned green to brown overnight,” explained Maltos.
“This is obviously a jewel of the area that wants to be preserved and to not have the whole mountain go is just a testament to the hard work of the firefighters,” said Botti.
Firefighters will remain on scene throughout the Wednesday night and want to remind residents to be careful on the roads.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.