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Firefighters have 35 percent containment on blaze near Pine Flat

Sierra Star

Smoke billows from the Sacata Fire.
Smoke billows from the Sacata Fire. Special to The Bee

A blaze burning north of Pine Flat Lake east of Fresno has caused smoky skies throughout the local foothills and was 35 percent contained at 1,700 acres Friday morning.

Some 450 firefighters are fighting the Sacata Fire, burning primarily in tall, dry grass. It was sparked around 1 p.m. Tuesday in grassland near the reservoir, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

Mark Smith, deputy fire chief at the U.S. Forest Service’s office in Tollhouse, said firefighters are attacking the blaze from the ground and air.

A no-fly zone was instituted over the area, meaning if people from the public fly drones over the flames, all aircraft assisting with the fire will be grounded.

Smoke from the fire fouled the air over Clovis on Thursday, and was wafting into the Oakhurst area by Friday. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued a warning late Wednesday advising people to remain cautious due to hazy outdoor conditions.

An incoming storm system, predicted to drop up to a half-inch of rain in Oakhurst and surrounding areas starting Friday afternoon, may not reach the Sacata Fire, forestry officials said.

A prescribed burn was also underway in Mariposa Grove inside Yosemite National Park Wednesday, with ignitions taking place over approximately three days on 62 acres, park officials said.

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