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Fires and flooding in the Stanislaus Forest

As of today, July 15, 2014, the National Weather Service has issued warnings for heavy rain at times in the Stanislaus National Forest, and the Stanislaus National Forest website has reported lightning caused fires are occurring due to the thunderstorms which have been rolling across the area.

The NWS has also issued flash flood warnings from July 16 12:00 p.m through July 17 11:00 p.m. for sections of East Central California and Western Nevada. The possibility of heavy rain combined with last years devastating Rim Fire burn area may cause rock and mud slides in some areas.

The Stanislaus National Forest (STF) management team has fire crews working on three active fires in the back country. The lack of road access to much of the area means the firefighters have to walk into the area to fight the fire. STF also has moved aircraft from Porterville to the Cal Fire Columbia Air-Attack Base.

“Our goal is to attack the fires while they’re still small, and hit them hard,” said Chris Schow, Forest Fire Chief. “We are also continuing to monitor for other potential fire starts, using both ground personnel and air assets.”

Two Type II crews of 18-20 fire fighters are working the three fires, as well as having a ten member Smoke Jumper team in place along with the aircraft moved from Porterville.

Along with the Smoke Jumpers who were brought in, the Stanislaus Hotshots were staged at the Bald Mountain Helitack Base for closer access to the high fire danger area of the STF.

The weather forecast for the area is of concern through Thursday evening as far as the possibility of thunderstorms, lightning and possible flooding events.

A Type-3 Incident Commander is overseeing the fire management effort and has five engines on hand as well as the rest of the resources.

In Tuolumne County, very localized rainfall was experienced in Jamestown and East Sonora, while the temperature remained in the high 70's and low 80's. It was not the most pleasant condition to have, and felt a great deal more like the type of weather a person might experience in Southern Florida. or Mississippi.