Firefighters and determined residents of Mariposa County continued their battle against the massive Detwiler Fire on Thursday as wildland blazes continued to burn around the state, generating smoke for hundreds of miles. More than 350 square miles of land has burned so far this year, and the Detwiler Fire west of Mariposa continued to pose danger to historic small communities that have been emptied out by evacuations since the fire began Sunday. In tiny Catheys Valley along Highway 140, the danger appeared to have passed for now, but a handful of residents who opted to stay and fight

recounted how close the flames had come. “The fire jumped the ridge, came over here; it was 30- to 40-foot flames right in front of our houses,” said Frank Gomes, who has lived in the ramshackle collection of homes and trailers for five years along with about 30 neighbors. “Me and the owner of the property, we stayed to defend the property because this is actually low income, so we just didn’t want to see everybody lose the little bit that they had.”  READ MORE