Crews gain on several blazes

Union Democrat staff

Mother Lode firefighters this weekend continued work to extinguish a number of fires that broke out last week and over the weekend.

Among the more notable fires in the region was the Valley Fire off Hunters Valley Road, between Lake McClure and Highway 49, in Mariposa County.

The fire, which started with a house fire and spread to 90 acres, threatened 40 homes over the weekend. Residents were allowed to return home Sunday. The fire was 100 percent contained as of this morning.

Fire crews have got the upper hand on a pair of fires in southern Tuolumne County:

• The 59 Fire, off J-59 and Bonds Flat Road near Lake Don Pedro, burned some 487 acres of vegetation but was fully contained as of Thursday night. It started Wednesday. The cause was undetermined. Firefighters were mopping up Friday.

• The Hetch Hetchy Fire burned 269 acres of vegetation but was fully contained Friday morning. It started Thursday afternoonoff J-59, northwest of Don Pedro, and was sparked by a car crash. Sheila Monaghan, 65, of Sonora, was driving a 2001 Lexus north on J-59 when she failed to make a turn in the road, according to the California Highway Patrol. She went off the road, hit a boulder, flipped over and skidded down the road - at some point setting a spark into the nearby grass. Monaghan was taken to Sonora Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries.

Firefighters were pulled into a third Tuolumne County firefight over the weekend, this one near the Moccasin Fish Hatchery.

The unnamed fire was south of the Moccasin State Fish Hatchery off Highway 49 and was reported about 1:45 p.m. Sunday when flames and smoke could be seen from the hatchery.

The fire had grown to about 25 acres by 4 p.m. It was not contained as of this morning.

The Union Democrat
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