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Progress Made On Oak Fire As Big Hill Road Opens

Update 11:30 p.m.: With the opening of Big Hill Road at 10 a.m., Cal Fire is asking motorists to slow down in the Oak Fire area. Cal Fire spokesperson Nancy Longmore cautions, “Old Oak Ranch Road is still closed, but in the area of the fire please use extreme caution, both for your safety…and firefighters. We don’t want any more injuries on this incident.” Longmore is referring to a firefighter who was treated for heat-related injuries yesterday while battling the flames. There is still no update on his condition.

Original Post 9:54 a.m.: Cedar Ridge, CA — The Oak Fire is 50% contained this morning, with the acreage increasing two acres, to 102. Three structures have been destroyed by the blaze including one home and two out buildings. The flames broke out at 1:23pm along Old Oak RanchRoad and Big Hill Road forcing evacuations and road closures.  Cal Fire Lisa Williams says, “Big Hill Road will reopen at 10am but Old Oak Ranch Road will remain closed. That will be reevaluated again tonight at 6pm.” She also says, “Evacuation orders still remain in effect and those will also be reevaluated tonight at 6pm. There is still active fire out there, we have hand crews working and with the heat and the dryness the fuels are just really tender so even though you might not see smoke in the area there is still active fire out there.”

For those residents under the advisory evacuation a shelter was set up at the Mother Lode Fairground last night and staffed by the American Red Cross. Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services Director Tracie Riggs reports “The shelters was open last night at 5:30pm. We had seven individuals who stayed the night. They plan to keep that shelter open until 6:00pm as the Old Oak Ranch Road continues to have a hard closure due to some PG&E work that needs to be done. Once that is completed they will lift that closure and anyone who was effected can return home.” Riggs notes “We are very, very thankful that Red cross was there once again for our community. They have been a great partner.” And she adds, “The fire could have been catastrophic and they jumped on it they put it to rest quickly and efficiently and we are very grateful for everyone who helped.”

Twenty-seven PG&E customers without power since around 3pm yesterday afternoon remain without power this morning. Company officials report the flames had kept crews from the outage site since yesterday, but workers were just allowed access and are now working on the problem. There is no estimated repair time.

A special thanks to community news partners Alan Cromer, Robert Davidson, Frank Harris, Cheril Lindenberg, Galen Gritz, Charity Maness, Maryann Curmi, Karen Jensen, Abi Rogers, Corey Adams, Amy Gladen and James Duff for sending in photos. Pictures can be e-mailed to news@clarkebroadcasting.com

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Big Hill and Old Oak Ranch roads, Cedar Ridge Area

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Big Hill and Old Oak Ranch roads, Cedar Ridge Area 38.044306, -120.326385 (Directions)