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Pier Fire: Evacuation orders lifted for Springville community

Pier Fire (Ivan Mendoza) (4).jpg

UPDATED: Effective 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 14, fire officials will downgrade evacuation orders from mandatory to voluntary for the following communities: Alpine Village, Camp Nelson, Cedar Slope, Doyle Springs, Mountain Aire, Rogers Camp, Pierpoint Springs, Sequoia Crest and Wishon.

Only property owners and residents are permitted to return at this time. Returning residents MUST show proof of residency to posted law enforcement to gain access. Proper documentation must include the resident name and residency address within the impacted area. Examples include driver's license with residency address, utility bill that includes resident name and residency address, or address documentation from the U.S. Post Office for those that utilize a post office box.

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Effective at 6 p.m. on September 6, 2017 -- Fire officials lifted the voluntary evacuation order for people in the Springville community as well as for all Balch Park Road, Bear Creek Road Mountain Home State Forest and SCICON.

Upper Rio Vista and Cow Mountain (Springville) are changing from a mandatory evacuation order to a voluntary evacuation order. That means people may return to their homes after showing proof of residency to posted law enforcement. But people who live there should be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, according to fire officials.

Tulare County has two levels of evacuations: mandatory and voluntary.

The following communities remain under mandatory evacuation orders: Camp Nelson, Sequoia Crest, Mountain Aire (Rogers Camp), Cedar Slope, Alpine, Doyle Springs, Wishon, and Pierpoint.

The following communities remain under voluntary evacuation orders: Upper Rio Vista and Cow Mountain (Springville).

For further information in regards to Pier Fire evacuation orders and road closures please call the Tulare County EOC 559-636-5496.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017 - As of Wednesday morning, the fire has not grown and is now 20% contained.

Officials lifted the voluntary evacuation order for residents in the Ponderosa community.

The following roads are available for re-entry into Ponderosa: Western Divide (M-107) through Parker Pass (M-50) from California Hot Springs. Highway 190 east of Springville remains closed.

The following communities remain under mandatory evacuation orders: Upper Rio Vista, Cow Mountain (Springville),Camp Nelson, Sequoia Crest, Mountain Aire (Rogers Camp), Cedar Slope, Alpine, Doyle Springs, Wishon, and Pierpoint.

The following communities remain under voluntary evacuation orders: Springville, residents along Balch Park Road, the Bear Creek community, Mountain Home State Forest, and Scicon.

All portions of Balch Park Road and Bear Creek Road will remain closed, however residents are able to enter showing proof of residency to posted law enforcement.

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UPDATED: Tuesday, September 5, 2017 - The Pier Fire in Tulare County has grown to 20,529 acres with 15 percent containment. There has been three minor injuries reported.

There is a community meeting Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at Porterville College in the Student Center.

Officials downgraded evacuation orders for residents along Balch Park Road, Bear Creek area, Mountain Home State Forest, and Scicon area from mandatory to voluntary.

All portions of Balch Park Road and Bear Creek Road will remain closed, however residents are able to enter showing proof of residency to posted law enforcement.


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Firefighters continue to struggle with a wildfire that's burning out of control east of Springville in Tulare County.

The incident, known as the "Pier Fire" covers 17, 418 acres as of Sunday afternoon.

The fire grew by 4,000 acres overnight.

U.S. Forest Service crews report the growth was due to dry brush and not strong winds.

They have also been struggling with a 30-acre spot fire.

That one was discovered in the area of Redwood drive near Sequoia Crest.

At this time, no structures have been impacted.

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A fire burning east of Springville is still out of control Saturday night, after it exploded in size Friday night.

The so-called “Pier Fire” now covers 13,240 acres.

There are more than 1,200 fire personnel on site.

Additional evacuations were ordered Saturday.

These include homes along Balch Park Road north of Highway 190 to Bear Creek Road, Bear Creek Road east of Balch Park Road, SCICON, and Mountain Home Conservation Camp.

Most are choosing to follow the evacuation orders, staying with friends and family.

About a dozen are staying at a Red Cross shelter set up at Porterville College.

But some are choosing to stay and look after their property—and help firefighters, if possible.

“We have some grit to stay here. I know it was mandatory. I was afraid to leave, but they won't let you back in," says Michelle Ray.

She and about a dozen other people have decided to remain in their homes near Camp Nelson.

“My husband and I own a water company. We stayed to make sure the engines would have water. They wouldn't need a lot, just enough for structure protection," she says.

Ray and her neighbors have been pooling their resources for meals.

Some have generators to keep their food from spoiling.

Smoke poured over the top of a nearby hillside Saturday afternoon.

Ray says she’s ready to go if the fire intensifies any more.

“We're not out of the woods yet, they've had spot fires different places,” she says. “If it gets hairy, I got my car packed so we can leave."

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