DJ Becker/The Madera Tribune
Smoke can be seen billowing from a field after a wind-driven fire. The blaze was started after a bird flew into an electrical transformer, generating sparks that were blown by the wind, according to Madera Fire Captain Jeff Biesenthal.
A bird that flew into an electrical transformer sparked a wind-driven fire Wednesday afternoon, behind a house in the 14400 block of Road 24, (Sunset Avenue) just west of the city limits of Madera.
According to Madera Fire Captain Jeff Biesenthal, the incident started a fast-moving grass fire about 2 p.m. that burned into and destroyed the stored contents of a 20’ x 60’ metal workshop behind the house, and two other smaller wooden outbuildings along with non-operative vehicles, stored equipment and debris.
Heavy black smoke at ground level blanketed the area to the east and panicked nearby residents as the power briefly went off at least twice due to the transformer damage and repairs.
Burning embers blown to the east rapidly ignited a field of tall overgrowth between rows of pomegranates, and burned right up to the back wall of the adjacent gated community of Villa Piemonte before being stopped by firefighters.
Firefighters battled heat, heavy smoke, exploding ammunition, burning tires, stored propane and acetylene welding tanks and other items going off before containing the flames.
No injuries were reported. Four engines and three water-tender trucks fought the fire, and several remained to extinguish all hot spots until about 9:30 p.m.
Firefighters suggest all residents review the clearances around their property and adjacent properties, and remove dried grass, overgrowth and any stored materials near their homes that could catch or spread fire.