Rim Fire - Wednesday Update: Tuolumne County Evacuations Lifted, Closures Still In Place



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Latest U.S. Forest Service Incident Report

Update: 1:00 p.m. - Tuolumne County Evacuations Lifted, Closures Still In Place

There are no active mandatory or advisory evacuations in place in Tuolumne County for the Rim Fire areas, but several highways and parts of the region, including a section of Yosemite National Park, remain closed.

Containment of the fire is holding at 80 percent, with the fire growing to 237,341 acres. There are 4,143 personnel assigned to the incident. Full containment is expected around Sept. 20. 

Good progress has continued with burnout operations on the southeast side of the fire. Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows is still under evacuation. There is a closure of Tioga Road west of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area.

0904 Rim Fire Road ClearingCrews clear Highway 120 of debris in wake of the Rim Fire. (Mike McMillan - USFS)

A Stanislaus National Forest closure order is in effect for locations near and in advance of the fire. Several locations to the west side of Yosemite National Park have also had closures implemented as a result of the fire's spread. Access and difficult terrain remain concerns for crews and equipment.

To clear up any possible confusion, the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office has issued the following statement:
"There are no evacuation orders or advisements in Tuolumne County but we still have road closures where traffic is not allowed in or out."

HWY 120 from Ferretti Road to Buck Meadows is open to Residents and businesses only.
HWY 120 is closed at Buck Meadows.
Cherry Lake Road is closed at HWY 120.
Evergreen Road and Old Yosemite Road remain closed.

The Rim Fire’s southeast flank in Yosemite National Park is expected to remain active where unburned fuels remain between containment lines and the fire. Crews are constructing new line off the Tioga Road in an effort to reduce the amount of fire operations needed to contain the fire.

As conditions are favorable, crews will continue using firing operations to remove unburned fuels that could threaten containment lines on the fire’s south and northeast flanks. The fire’s west and north flanks are considered contained while firefighters continue to monitor for spot fires and heat found near containment lines. Weather conditions are expected to be similar to yesterday with slightly drier conditions.

Smoke exposure and air quality will continue to be a concern to the public and fire crew. California Interagency Incident Management Team 1 assumed command of the Rim Fire at 6:00 a.m.

12:10 a.m. - Containment Reaches 80 Percent

Firefighters continue to gain ground on the Rim Fire, as containment reached 80 percent late Tuesday and the fire's growth is slowing. A total of 235,841 acres have been burned, and 4,185 personnel are working the incident.

Good progress was made Tuesday with burnout operations on the northwestern and southwestern edges of the fire. A large spot fire southwest of Pilot Peak was contained by crews putting in direct handline.

0903 rim fire burnout primary

A burnout operation along Highway 120. (Mike McMillan - USFS)

Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows is still under evacuation. There is a closure of Tioga Road west of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area. A Stanislaus National Forest closure order is in effect for locations near and in advance of the fire.

The evacuation advisory for areas east of Highway 108 from Ponderosa Hills north to Pinecrest has been LIFTED. Several locations to the west side of Yosemite National Park have also had closures implemented as a result of the fire's spread. Access and difficult terrain remain concerns for crews and equipment.

0903-rim-fire-incident-mapIncident Statistics

Structures Threatened: 4,500
Containment: 80%
Residences Destroyed: 11
Fire Start Date: August 17, 2013
Commercial Property Destroyed: 3
Fire Cause: Under Investigation
Outbuildings Destroyed: 97
Cost to date: $77 million
Injuries: 5
Total Personnel: 4,185

USFS Fire Update
Very active fire behavior occurred again today on the East sides of the fire. This produced running surface fire with torching, crowning and spotting. Moderate rates of spread were observed both in advancing surface fire and backing fire. Heavy fuels continue to experience complete combustion with high probability of ignition.

Wildland Fire Modules are assigned North of Cherry and Eleanor Lakes to monitor the fires advancement and contain spread in the rocky terrain where fingers of sparse fuels are present. Line construction with burnout is planned as necessary South of Harden Lake in Yosemite National Park. Continued burnout operations are planned in Yosemite National Park along Tioga Road as conditions allow. Additional burnout and reinforcement of control lines to the north /northwest of fire will continue. Patrol and mop up will continue as needed, until significant moisture is received.

Park and Forest Closures
Yosemite National Park has closed Tamarack Flat and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds, both located along Tioga Road. White Wolf Campground and White Wolf Lodge remain closed. 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; and Groveland Ranger Station, 209-962-7825.

Road Closures
Highway 120 remains closed from Buck Meadows to 1 ½ miles east of White Wolf. Highway 120 east/Tioga Road remains open from 1 ½ miles east of White Wolf to the Tioga Pass entrance. Cherry Lake Road is closed at Highway 120. Evergreen Road and Old Yosemite Road are also closed. Highway 120 from Ferretti Road to Buck Meadows remains open for local residents and businesses only.

Evacuations and Advisories
There are currently NO mandatory or advisory evacuation orders effective in Mariposa County. The evacuation advisory has been lifted for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest. Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows remains under evacuation.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact the Rim Fire at 805-727-4775 or 805-727-4746 and Tuolumne City Rim Fire Information at 209-928-1059. If you have questions about Yosemite National Park call 209-372-0327 or 209-372-0329.Updated information is also available at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3660/. 

Basic Information

Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin Saturday August 17th, 2013 approx. 03:15 PM
Location Groveland Range District, Stanislaus NF
Incident Commander Wilkins/lawshe

Current Situation

Total Personnel 4,143
Size 237,341 acres
Percent Contained 80%
Estimated Containment Date Friday September 20th, 2013 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Brush, Oaks, and Pine

Fire Behavior

Active fire behavior in the interior late into the evening associated with burnout operations. Moderate rates of spread were observed both in advancing surface fire and backing fire. Heavy fuels still continue to experience complete combustion with high probability of ignition.

Significant Events

Continued good progress was made with burnout operations on the southeast side of the fire. Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows is still under evacuation. There is a closure of Tioga Road west of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area. A Stanislaus National Forest closure order is in effect for locations near and in advance of the fire. Several locations to the west side of Yosemite National Park have also had closures implemented as a result of the fire's spread. Access and difficult terrain remain concerns for crews and equipment.

Outlook

Planned Actions

Wildland Fire Modules will be assigned north of Cherry and Eleanor Lakes to monitor the fires advancement and contain spread in the rocky terrain where fingers of sparse fuels are present. Complete direct and indirect line construction with burnout as necessary south of Harden Lake in Yosemite National Park. Continued burnout operations planned in Yosemite National Park along Tioga Road as favorable conditions allow. Reinforcement of control lines along the fire's northwestern edge. Patrol and mopup in all areas except the southeastern edge.

Growth Potential

Extreme

Terrain Difficulty

Extreme

Remarks

The extremely dry fuels, high winds, and potential for long-range spotting remain significant concerns for the fire to advance beyond control lines.

Approximately 4,500 structures remain threatened in advance of the fire on both the east and west sides until the head waters of Hull Creek are completely burned out.

Night shift is expected to be scaled back as mopup continues and fuels are consumed.

Transition to Incident Management Team Type 1 (Wilkins)to Incident Management Team Type 1 (McGowan) occurred on September 4, 2013 at 6AM.

Current Weather

Wind Conditions 6 mph SE
Temperature 65 degrees
Humidity 60%
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