Firefighters overnight continued to hold the lines of two fires burning in the Mother Lode, while several people living near the Graham Fire, northeast of Groveland, were urged to evacuate their homes overnight.
The 100-acre Graham Fire, fire burning deep in the Tuolumne River Canyon, was 20 percent contained as of Thursday evening.
A Cal Fire incident update overnight said about 20 homes were
threatened and that residents were urged to voluntarily leave their
More than 500 fire personnel were assigned to fight the blaze, including 19 fire crews, three air tankers, six helicopters, two bulldozers and five watertenders.
“The fire is established in an inaccessible area and continues to smolder and creep in the brush, with a possibility of roll out which will involve handcrews taking direct action on the line, with air support for the most difficult terrain,” a Cal Fire statement overnight said.
The fire’s cause has yet to be determined.
The blaze, called the Graham Fire for its proximity to Graham Ranch Road, was reported at 3:04 p.m. Wednesday.
A second blaze, the Penn Fire, off Skunk Ranch Road near Murphys, was 40 percent contained by Thursday evening, according to Cal Fire's Nancy Longmore, a fire prevention specialist based in San Andreas.
She said better mapping of the area throughout the day revealed about 130 acres had burned, a lower estimate than was previously reported.
The fire was reported at 3:24 p.m. Wednesday.
Robin Williams, who lives on Skunk Ranch Road, said she believed the fire began near a construction site not far from her house.
"It looked like an atom bomb had gone off," Williams said of the thick column of smoke.
"We do live out here in wildfire country and its important to have a plan," she said.
She called local fire agencies to see if evacuations had been called for the area, but was told that it was mostly up to her to decide.
She said that the fire fortunately moved northward, the opposite direction from her house and others.
Cal Fire spokeswoman Lisa Williams could not confirm the location of the fire's origin.
She said the original dispatch was for a structure fire, but the type of structure wasn’t specified.
A subsequent report said an outbuilding was burned.
Williams said the same amount of resources would remain on the ground at both fires throughout the night. About 260 state and local firefighters were working on each fire Thursday evening.