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Sky Fire Grows To 500 Acres

U.S. Forest Service
The Sky Fire burns north of Oakhurst on Friday morning.

A wildfire known as ‘The Sky Fire’ burning outside Oakhurst in Madera County has grown to over 500 acres.

The U.S. Forest Service says as of Friday morning that the fire is only 15% contained and likely to grow. Early projections indicate that the fire could grow to as much 600 to 1000 thousand acres.

"The thing about this fire is it is in a heavy fuels, brush and bug kill pockets," Dirk Charley, U.S. Forest Service

 The most recent information on the fire is available here.

The brush fire began Thursday after a vehicle caught fire on Sky Ranch Road north of Oakhurst.

Dirk Charley with the Forest Service says the fire is hard to fight because it is in a steep densely wooded area with lots of fuel for the fire.

“The thing about this fire is it is in a heavy fuels, brush and bug kill pockets. Lots of trees are dead because of beetles,” Charley said.

As many as 500 firefighters will be on scene fighting the fire as well as several airplanes and fire trucks.

But getting additional resources to the fire has been difficult.

Charley says fires burning in other parts of California have stretched resources thin.

“We have got additional resources coming in but we are suffering a shortage. We have significant fires going on in northern California and southern California and then there is travel time,” Charley said.

More firefighters are expected to arrive in the area today.

Several campgrounds in the area have been evacuated and the fire threatens several hundred structures.

Charley says it is possible that residential areas will need to be evacuated but unlikely. 

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.
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