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Firefighters Trying to Make a Stand against Rim Fire

TUOLUMNE COUNTY—

With explosive force, the Rim Fire burning in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties has jumped from ridge to ridge in the Stanislaus National Forest – and hop scotching a path over Highway 120 multiple times.

When smoke is shrouding towering mile high thunderheads, even locals not easily frightened know it’s time to be prepared

“Anybody under 18 has to go. Anybody over 18. If they want to stay and guard their home, they can do that,” said resident Dan McGrew.

Along Packard Canyon Road east of Groveland, some homes were instantly devoured by flames Monday – leaving just burned out shells of refrigerators and stone work.

While other homes stood defiant, with only sheds succumbing to the wind driven fire.

Heat put off by the flames was so intense, pine branches were stripped of needles and manzanita bushes torched, sending off an eerie hissing.

The heat even forced firefighters to beat a hasty retreat away from advancing flames.

“It’s a crazy fire. It’s gone every way they didn’t expect it to,” said McGrew.

With mother nature declaring victory in this round, firefighters hoping to win the war.

 

Property Owner Gets Lucky

Behold the power of defensible space.  In the heart of the Stanislaus National Forest stands the Lillaskog Bed and Breakfast.

“On a good day, we have the best view of any lodge in the whole high Sierra,” said Bill Charlson, owner of the lodge.

While the rest of Packard Canyon was going up in flames Monday, taking out this home and others, Lillaskog stood.

“We were really lucky they were able to defend, because it slowed down when it got to our perimeter,” Charlson said.

Charlsen came in Tuesday to check out his property, along with forest service firefighters continuing to make a stand against the advance flames of the Rim Fire.

“Fire will make its own weather, will make its own wind, you can’t tell what direction the wind is going to go,” said Charlson.

As Charlson and family headed back out, Lillaskog remained standing – at least for another afternoon.

“It looks like we’re pretty safe right now, but I don’t think it’ll come back, they’ve removed so much fuel.”