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Evacuations in Calaveras 'Oak Fire'

Cal Fire air attack
Cal Fire air attackPhoto by David McNew/Getty Images

The Calaveras Sheriff's Department, and Cal Fire have posted the information on the Oak Fire in the Oak Valley Road area of Calaveras County. The fire is near the intersection of Oak Valley Road and Pool Station Road. Situated closer to Highway 4 than Highway 49. A map of the area is HERE. Evacuations have been carried out on Riata Way, with an evacuation center being established at Copperopolis Elementary School.

The fire began today June 22, 2014 at approximately 12:37 p.m. and has extended to include as much as one hundred acres in size. Currently Cal Fire reports the fire as being fifty percent contained and only one outbuilding as being destroyed. There are now 331 fire personnel on scene along with four air tankers, thirty fire engines, fifteen fire crews, three helicopters and and five dozers.

The Calaveras Sheriff Department has request citizens to stay out of the area due to 'significant' traffic issues in the area along with traffic being backed up. Pool Station Road is very narrow in several sections with a large number of blind corners and tight turns, all of which combine to make sharing the road with a fire engine in a hurry to get to a location rather hazardous. However, Pool Station Road is a highly traveled back road due to the ability to leave Highway 49 and cut across to Highway 4 from San Andreas without going through Angels Camp.

Today's fire comes on the heels of a fire in Calaveras County which began on June 20, 2014 at 3:27 p.m., also in the Pool Station Road area, at George Reed drive. The Reed Fire consumed 120 acres prior to being fully contained yesterday. No structures were damaged or threatened in the Reed Fire and there were no injuries reported by Cal Fire.

The numerous small fires, in the 50 - 130 acre size range have many of the foothills residents understandably nervous, waiting for the worst possible situation of low humidity, high or moderate winds and high temperatures. The number of outlying residents getting involved in creating a defensible space around their homes has increased significantly in the last two months.

UPDATE: As of 11:00 p.m. on Sunday June 22, 2014 the Oak Fire is 60 % contained, and the evacuation orders have been lifted. The fire remains at 100 acres and only one outbuilding has been destroyed.

UPDATE June 24, 2014: As of 6:15 this morning Cal Fire reports the fire at 90% containment, and with increased mapping accuracy the size was reduced to 85 acres. With the number of fires in California at this time, aircraft with infrared/GPS capability are reportedly in short supply for accurate mapping.