FRESNO COUNTY, California. (KSEE) – A fire prompted a massive response from fire crews as flames threatened homes and businesses in Auberry on Wednesday.
The Deck Fire broke out around noon at the Auberry lumber mill on Auberry Road, northeast of Frazier Road.
A heatwave, drought conditions, and a massive pile of dried-up lumber created a perfect storm that helped fuel the fire.
Flames are still burning into Wednesday night as firefighters continue to prevent it from spreading.
The fire quickly burned 3 to 4 acres of 25 foot lumber that had sat there for several years.
“We are dealing with a lot of flammable material and a lot of dead material,” said Cal Fire Division Chief Michael Bowman.
A nearby pond helped firefighters save the day.
“We can’t even put a value on aircraft, it’s a huge asset,” said Bowman.
As they doused flames and put out spot fires that spread to grass threatening nearby buildings.
“The second that I heard, I just thought there’s no hope. I really didn’t think that I was going to find my home when I come home,” said Shonda Graham.
Graham lives across the street from the lumber piles.
“So this really was your worst nightmare coming true today… It was my worst nightmare,” explained Graham.
She says the lumber was a disaster waiting to happen– a fear she’s lived with since her family evacuated for the Creek Fire.
“That whole pile of logs over there was just dangerous, to the point of combustion, it’s always something that weighed heavy on my mind. The timber needs to be cut, it needs to be cleaned out but it needs to be done safely and professionally,” said Graham.
Watching it burn now under the watchful eye of firefighters brings wave of relief.
“I cant thank them enough. Once again they’ve come through for us!” Graham said.
Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.
They will be out here through night and into the coming days to make sure it’s contained and fully extinguished.