G Street by Fairgrounds due to firefighting vehicles
For more information contact:
Mike Conway, City of Merced, 209-385-6232
Mike North, Merced County, 209-726-2744
UPDATE: LeGrand is not being used as an evacuation site. Additional signage is being put out to direct people to the Cesar E. Chavez Middle School site in Planada at 161 S. Plainsburg Rd. UPDATE: The City of Merced is closing G Street from Childs to 11th Street due to the heavy traffic from firefighting and other vehicles around the Merced County Fairgrounds. Merced hosts firefighter HQ, evacuees
The Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County will be affecting Merced residents, as firefighters use the City as their headquarters and evacuees head here for shelter.
The fire started near Lake McClure Sunday afternoon and spread through Mariposa County. Tuesday up to 4,000 people were forced to flee their homes and businesses around the town of Mariposa because of the approaching flames.
The Merced County Fairgrounds are being used as the staging area for the fire operations, with crews returning there after 24 -hour shifts to eat, sleep and resupply. People evacuated from the foothills were being directed first to Planada but expected to overflow into Merced, where school sites are being prepared.
The City and Merced County have been working together to address the situation.
'We are offering any and all the assistance we can,' said Fire Chief Michael Wilkinson. 'We have crews up fighting the fire and we have City staff down here helping out every way we can.'
City water crews are making sure the trucks are full. The City Public Works Department devised truck routes through town for CalFire so firefighters could get up to the fire with the least disruptions to traffic and people.
'We wanted to make it easy for them to get in and out of the City, simply and safely,' said Public Works Director Ken Elwin. 'They have lots of big trucks going through the City and we don't want anyone getting into accidents.'
Merced residents are being asked to steer clear of Highway 140, the major route to the fire scene, unless necessary. They also are advised that there will be a large amount of vehicle and truck traffic around the fairgrounds while firefighting efforts are underway.
'We've got some new people in town, so let's welcome them,' said Merced County Board of Supervisors Chairman Daron McDaniel. 'Remember, they are going through some really tough times and need our support.
'As we move forward with the response to this fire, the County will ensure Castle Airport continues to be a resource for CalFire to battle the blaze,' McDaniel said.
Merced County deputies are assisting with the evacuation of Mariposa residents.
Merced County staff are also assisting with the evacuation of John C. Fremont Hospital in Mariposa, if needed.
Information on the fire is available at http://www.fire.ca.gov/general/firemaps.