Fire officials see defensible space as one of the main reasons homes are not at risk

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FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – As of 12 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters said the “House Fire” had burned 171 acres of hillside and was 60 percent contained.

The fire started on Tollhouse and Pitman Hill roads near Humphrey station.

At the edge of the fire burn scar, it’s still a very active scene. Fire crews are working with bulldozers and manual crews to push the flames away.

The fire looked very different from what it had when it started about 24 hours earlier.

Fire crews got a better angle from above on how to better tackle the blazes that have already scorched more than 150 hillside acres.

“With air tankers, helicopters, bulldozers, engine companies, manual crews,” CalFire Battalion Chief Dan Urias said.

“All of this stuff compiled really gives us the edge to really put this thing to bed, wrap it up, and prepare for the next one.” Chief Urias said.

Incident Commander Shawn Hogan said homeowners near the fire were following simple defensible space rules that kept their homes out of harm’s way.

“Moving forward the fire would have continued, it would have entered populated areas. You don’t want to be out there with a lawn mower because lawn mowers are made to cut dry grass
because they could start a fire easily,” Commander Hogan said. “So I hope you don’t start a fire trying to do the right thing the wrong way.”

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Urias says the fire started in the backyard of a house and spread to that hill.

“Once the wind has died down, it really makes things favorable for us,” Chief Urias said.

On the ground, conditions were extremely calm Thursday afternoon, but where the fire is burning, winds were still pushing smoke towards the containment lines.

Fire crews say this blaze should be fully contained within two days.

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