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Wildfire Threatens Tuolumne County Homes

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MOCCASIN – A quickly spreading wildfire forced evacuations from several communities near Highway 49 Thursday afternoon.

The “Moc Fire” was reported near the area of Highway 120 and Highway 49 shortly before 1:00pm. Initially, arriving fire crews reported the incident to be about three acres in size. By 7:45pm authorities reported the fire to have spread to about 1,700 acres.

The quick moving flames jumped Highway 49, consuming entire hillsides and forcing road closures and evacuations. At 3:41pm fire officials reported the fire to be moving East at critical speeds.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for several areas including Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake. An evacuation center was set up at the Mariposa Fairgrounds. By nightfall, caravans of vehicles towing trailers and RV’s could be seen fleeing the Coulterville area through Highway 132. Some vehicles were packed with belongings.

Authorities with the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office urged residents to not wait if they felt unsafe. Westbound Highway 120 was opened for evacuees, and the Sheriff’s Office said to exit the area through Yosemite National Park if people had to.

There was no word on containment of the fire early Friday morning.

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Officer Involved Shooting Investigated in Tracy

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Officers examine a corner of Mosswood Court Friday afternoon where an officer involved shooting took place.

TRACY – One person who was said to be armed with a knife was rushed to a hospital Friday afternoon after being shot by a police officer.

Shortly before 2:00pm officers were called to the area of Mosswood Court for a report of a person with a knife chasing another. During the encounter an arriving officer fired his gun at the person said to be armed with a knife.

Officials at the scene said the person shot was rushed to a hospital in unknown condition. They had identified that person but were holding that information for a proper time.

The neighborhood was closed off while investigators responded to determine what took place.

No other injuries were reported.

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Aircraft Emergency Investigation Closes Mitchell Bridge

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Emergency personnel examine a crashed airplane near the Mitchel Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

MODESTO – An investigation into an aircraft emergency closed the northbound lanes of the Mitchell Road Bridge Wednesday afternoon.

At about 1:00pm emergency crews were dispatched to the fields east of the Mitchell Road Bridge north of the Tuolumne River for a report of a plane crash.

Arriving rescuers found a plane crashed face down into the ground near a group of trees. One person was deceased in the aircraft according to an official at the scene.

One witness at the scene said he was driving down Hatch Road when he noticed the plane at an awkward angle, but thought nothing of it at first.

No cause of the crash or estimated time of opening for Mitchell Road was available at time of publication.

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Double Homicide Investigated in Merced County, Warrant Issued For Suspect

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HILMAR – Authorities with the Merced County Sheriff’s Office are searching for a 40 year old man in connection to a double homicide that happened Tuesday night.

Authorities responded to the 19000 block of American Avenue regarding a possible homicide Tuesday night. Arriving deputies located two adult victims deceased.

Wednesday authorities identified 40 year old Victor Bazan as a suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest. Officials believe he is related to one of the victims, and he is known to be transient to the Modesto, Ceres and Turlock areas.

Relatives of one of the victims reaching out said a white stolen vehicle Bazan may have been traveling in was found abandoned in Bakersfield.

Anyone with information regarding Bazan’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact law enforcement immediately. He should not be approached.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact (209) 651-2852 where callers can remain anonymous.

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