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Oakdale Rec Area Vegetation Fire Burns 10-Plus Acres
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Fueled by heavy vegetation, a multi-alarm fire burned more than 10 acres in the Oakdale Rec Area, off River and Liberini roads, on Tuesday night, with the flames seen here from a location along River Road. Photo By Marg Jackson

Heavy fuels contributed to a fast burning fire outside Oakdale on Tuesday night, bringing multiple fire crews to the scene.

First reported just before 8 p.m. on Aug. 17, Modesto Fire Department Battalion Chief Ryan Winton said crews were on scene for throughout the night.

“We are still looking at the cause, the fire investigator was here,” Winton said early Wednesday afternoon. “It burned in the Oakdale Rec Area (at River and Liberini roads) and then crossed the river in at least one spot.”

Crews attacked it from the River Road side and then accessed the fire from the south side by going in on Walnut Street, off North Oak Avenue in the city. Winton said a “small strip of river bottom” land below the Brichetto orchards burned, but the orchard land itself was not threatened. Luckily, the Battalion Chief added, no homes in the area were threatened either.

“It certainly generated concern,” Winton admitted.

Onlookers packed River Road and several motorists also pulled over along Oak Avenue trying to get a good look at the flames, which appeared as an orange ball of flame in the night sky, sending out plumes of smoke.

“It probably took about four to five hours to get containment on both ends,” Winton explained.

The flames were knocked down within a couple of hours but it was several more to gain containment and Winton said several companies were back on scene Wednesday.

“We’ll be out here the next couple of days just to make sure the containment holds,” he explained. “Still a lot of mop up.”

The heavy vegetation contributed to the heavy smoke and rolling flames but Winton said there were no injuries reported.

Initial estimates were that 10 to 12 acres of vegetation in the Oakdale Rec area were burned, with the additional small areas damaged on the opposite side where the fire jumped the river.

Among the departments responding to assist were Stanislaus Consolidated and Escalon, with Escalon Fire Department volunteer Kaden Christensen explaining that they were put on water detail, filling up out of a hydrant in the Cost Less Shopping Center and delivering it to the scene.

“We shuttled water back and forth and supplied it to Water Tender 27 (out of Oakdale) about seven or eight times and were on scene for about five hours,” Christensen said.