Cars, chicken coop burn on Merced farm

Several inoperable vehicles burned Friday on a ranch just outside Merced after wind kicked up a roadside fire, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection-Merced County Fire Department reported.

A chicken coop was also damaged in the blaze and a home was briefly threatened, Cal Fire-Merced County Battalion Chief Glenda Leonard said.

Flames sparked just before 1 p.m. in the 600 block of Vassar Avenue. The cause of the blaze was unclear Friday.

Merced County firefighters received unexpected help from a group of Cal Fire firefighters from San Benito who were on their way back home after battling the Haigh fire in Mariposa County.

“They saw the smoke and called the command center, then responded and stopped and helped Merced County,” Leonard said.

The San Benito crew brought about 18 firefighters to help extinguish the fast-moving fire. About 23 firefighters were on scene until about 3 p.m.

Leonard estimated damage from the blaze at $2,000, but the exact amount was still being calculated Friday afternoon.

Firefighters said at least five cars burned but that as many as nine may have caught fire.

Leonard said the fire is not considered suspicious.