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Pier Fire sees slow growth; 10 percent contained

The Pier Fire burns behind the Springville Ranch barn.
The Pier Fire burns behind the Springville Ranch barn. Special to The Bee

The Pier Fire in Tulare County remains persistent, with not much fire growth overnight, but only 10 percent contained as of Monday afternoon, said Pier fire information staff.

No homes have been destroyed by the blaze, but building and equipment belonging to Southern California Edison were destroyed including a valve house above the Tule Power House, six distribution poles and a transmission structure and line. The loss affected both Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, and both companies are beginning to replace poles and repair infrastructure.

Three people have suffered minor injuries in the fire, said fire information staff. Rain fell on parts of the fire, and the cooler weather Monday will give crews an opportunity to get into Balch Park Road, said fire information staff.

Mandatory evacuations remain for homes along Balch Park Road north of Highway 190 to Bear Creek Road, Bear Creek Road east of Balch Park Road, SCICON School Campsite and Mountain Home Conservation Camp. Upper Rio Vista, Cow Mountain, Sequoia Crest, Mountain Aire, Rogers Camp, Pierpoint Springs, Cedar Slope, Camp Nelson, Doyle Springs, Alpine Village and Wishon are also under mandatory evacuation orders.

Springville and Ponderosa are under voluntary evacuation orders. An evacuation center is at the Porterville College Student Center at 100 E. College Ave.

The Sequoia National Forest has closed all forest trails, roads and land around the Pier Fire until it is fully contained. Mountain Home State Forest and Balch Park are also closed.

Highway 190 east of Springville is closed south of Balch Park Road, and Balch Park Road is closed at Bear Creek Road, fire information staff said. Highway 190 north of Ponderosa is also closed at Forest Road 21S50. Only residents with an identification are allowed through Balch Park Road where it meets Yokhol Valley Road.

Like the Railroad Fire burning to the north in the Sierra, the Pier Fire also began last Tuesday. It originated at Highway 190, seven miles east of Springville. The fire was started by a human, but the exact cause is still under investigation, fire information staff said.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPan

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