Tuolumne County fire personnel contained a blaze Friday afternoon that spread to 15 acres near Algerine-Wards Ferry and Lime Kiln roads.

Cal Fire Capt. Dennis Brower said the fire was reported at approximately 1 p.m. by someone who saw smoke.

“It’s open burning, so we get calls like that a lot,” Brower said, in reference to Cal Fire’s recent lifting of a seasonal suspension on burn permits in the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit.

Early dispatch reports indicated the fire was an escaped burn pile, but Brower said the cause was not confirmed and remained under investigation Friday afternoon.

Brower said the fire was contained within about an hour.

Air and ground resources included fire engines, water tenders and a helicopter from Cal Fire’s Columbia Air Attack Base.

Personnel remained at the scene to get the fire fully controlled and complete mop-up work as of about 2:45 p.m., Brower said.

There were reportedly no injuries or structures threatened.

Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit Chief Josh White lifted the suspension on burn permits in late November.

The lifting of the suspension means people within Tuolumne and Calaveras counties with valid agriculture or residential burn permits can resume burning on permissive burn days as determined by the air pollution control district in each county.

Safe residential pile burning by landowners is considered a crucial tool for reducing fire hazards.

People are required to follow all guidelines and maintain control of the fire at all times. They can be held civilly and/or criminally liable if they allow a pile burn to escape or burn onto neighboring property.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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