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Crews Quickly Extinguish Smoky Fire Along Highway
A firefighter can be seen through the smoky haze along Highway 108 on Friday afternoon as a grass fire burned between Mesa Drive and Adams Gravel Plant Road, which had four engines and one water tender on hand from Modesto, Riverbank, and Oakdale. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS


Smoke billowed up along Highway 108 between Oakdale and Riverbank as four engines, one water tender, and several firefighters arrived on scene to contain a one acre hillside fire on Friday afternoon.

Battalion Chief Rick Bussell was on scene and explained that the call was originally dispatched as a smoke check which led to one engine out of Riverbank being deployed. As they arrived on scene firefighters found the hillside between Mesa Drive and Adams Gravel Plant Road on fire. This was cause to deploy additional units to the scene, said Bussell, which included two engines out of Oakdale and one from Modesto.

The hillside, which leads down to the Stanislaus River, was steep and the grass and leaves were thick which made it a challenge for the firefighters. After two hours of combating the fire they finally were able to mop it up. One acre of the hillside burned and the cause of the fire is unknown. There are transients that occupy the area so that could be a factor in the cause of the fire. According to Bussell there did not seem to be any other evidence besides being man made that could have started the fire.

The smoke was visible from the highway but didn’t appear to cause any traffic delays, as Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District crews arrived on scene with urgency and were able to contain the fire in a couple of hours