Fire At Fresno Utility Pole Yard Generates Health Caution

Apr 30, 2015

A utility pole yard fire burns in Central Fresno
Credit Fresno Fire Department

A massive fire at a lumberyard in Fresno has prompted officials with the Valley Air District to issue a health caution for residents from Fresno to Kern Counties.

The two to three acre fire began overnight at the McFarland Cascade utility pole yard near Golden State Boulevard. The facility provides wood utility poles to companies throughout the region, including PG&E.

As of Thursday afternoon the fire continued to burn. Pete Martinez with the Fresno Fire Department  says the firefighting efforts were hampered by the lack of a working set of fire hydrants at the site.

Martinez: "When we first to to the fire it was burning about five or six piles, but because of the water supply issues that we had, it grew to about 20 piles. Once we contained it and secured a water supply we took a defensive mode, where we didn't want it to grow any bigger than it already had. And that's what we're continuing to do. It's too dangerous to go in there with normal hand lines and and try to manipulate around all those piles of wood, as well as just too much heat to take for a prolonged period of time."

Martinez says each of the piles contains between 20 and 100 utility poles. The fire could burn for as long as 24 hours. 

The Valley Air District issued a health caution for residents in Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern Counties due to the fire.