Update: 8:39 a.m. - Crews 'Turning the Corner' Against Rim Fire
CalFire says crews are turning the corner against the "Rim Fire" burning in the Yosemite National Park area. Daniel Berlant with CalFire says the 192,000 acre fire is now 30 percent contained:
"We're optimistic, especially since a good percentage here of the work that's been done is around the surrounding communities. It really does give use a sense of relief, however, we have to keep our heads in the game. It doesn't take much for a little bit of wind to push this fire and it could be off to the races again." - Daniel Berlant, CalFire
Berlant says there are more than 4,800 firefighters battling the flames. He says they are working 24-hour-shifts. “It is a very physically demanding job for our crews to be out there, especially 24 hours a day."
He says there are also California National Guard drones flying overhead that provide a live video feed of the fire's activity. The images allow commanders to better see where to deploy resources.
Berlant says the drones are particularly helpful given the difficult terrain:
"This fire is so large and so complex that having a new piece of technology that really does show real-time information of where the fire is allows our incident commanders to better decide where we need to deploy our resources, where we need to start making movement as the fire progresses." - Berlant
Berlant says warm, dry weather expected over the next few days could help the fire to spread more quickly again. He says it's also important to remember that fire season is far from over.
“Even once we turn the corner on this fire – have this fire contained - and start releasing crews, we’re not over yet. Fire season still has several more months and especially as we go into the holiday weekend, we could continue to see an increase in our fire activity the next couple of months.”
The Rim Fire as seen from a commercial airliner flying at about 30,000 Wedneday evening. This view is looking south. The smoke plume is blanketing the area in the foreground, with the billowing cloud showing part of the fire's weather system. Yosemite National Park is on the left side of the photo. (Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio)
Acres Burned: 192,737 (301 square miles) Structures Threatened: 4,500
Containment: 30% Residences Destroyed: 11
Fire Start Date: August 17, 2013 Commercial Property Damaged: 3
Fire Cause: Under Investigation Outbuildings Destroyed: 97
Cost to date: $39.2 Million Injuries: 3
Total Personnel 4,840
Last night firefighters continued their burning operations near Duckwall Mountian and Pilot Peak, and will continue to construct fireline north to Fahey Cabin, and provided structure defense. Firefighters prepared for burning operations south of Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park. Burning operations are also expected near Duckwall Mountain and near Old Yosemite Road. Crews will continue with burning operations as long as weather conditions allow, and will construct and improve firelines and provide structure defense.
Park and Forest Closures
Yosemite National Park has closed Tamarack Flat and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds, both located along the Tioga Road. White Wolf Campground and White Wolf Lodge will remain closed. If you have questions about Yosemite National Park please call 209-372-0327 or 209-372-0329. The Stanislaus National Forest has issued an area closure for the entire Groveland Ranger District and for the Mi-Wok Ranger District east of Highway 108. Additional details are available from the Stanislaus Forest Supervisor's Office: (209) 532-3671; Mi-Wok Ranger Station: (209) 586-3234; Summit Ranger Station: (209) 965-3434; Groveland Ranger Station: (209) 962-7825.
Highway 120 remains closed between Buck Meadows to one and one-half miles east of White Wolf. Highway 120 east/Tioga Road remains open from one and one-half miles east of White Wolf to the Tioga Pass entrance. Also closed are Cherry Lake at Highway 120, Evergreen Road and Old Yosemite Road. Highway 120 from Ferretti Road to Buck Meadows remains open only for local residents and business only.
Evacuations and Advisories
A Mandatory Evacuation has been issued for residences north of Old Yosemite Road (Forest Road 2S01). Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows has been evacuated. An evacuation center is located at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora. An evacuation advisory is in effect from Tuolumne City and the area east of Highway 108 to Pinecrest Lake. An Evacuation Warning has been issued for all residences north of Bull Creek Road (Forest Road 2S02), Bondurant Mine Road, Texas Hill Road, and Wampum Hill. An evacuation center is located at the Greeley Hill Community Center.