South Stanislaus search and rescue operation

Structure destroyed by Lightning Complex Fires near Blue Hill Grade.

Around 20 Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputies, including Sergeant Martin Machado Acting Chief of Patterson Police Services, drove trucks and off-road vehicles through the rough mountain terrain surrounding Blue Hill Grade as part of a search and rescue operation on Aug. 21 to check properties that were known to have structures on them.

Machado didn’t have exact data but said, “approximately a dozen properties were checked,” and of those “between five and 10” suffered structure loss.

He did confirm that no people were located, and no victims were reported during the operation.

Sheriff Jeff Dirkse later confirmed via Facebook that of the 13 properties checked, nine were destroyed.

Ground-based search and rescue operations in the area have concluded.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department plans to conduct flyover operations when the air is clear enough.

Sheriff Dirkse also reiterated that Del Puerto Canyon Road continues to be closed and will remain so through the weekend due to Cal Fire activity, fire, and falling debris. 

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