Rim Fire- Tuesday Update: Mariposa County Evacuation Advisory Lifted as Progress Continues

Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio
 
Mandatory evacuations for Mariposa County have been lifted, as firefighters continue to make progress on the Rim Fire. The fire has burned 235,843 acres, and is 75 percent contained. There are 4,359 personnel working the incident. Update: 12:18 p.m.
Latest U.S. Forest Service Incident Report

Update: 12:18 a.m. - Mariposa County Evacuation Advisory Lifted as Progress Continues

The evacuation advisory for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest has been lifted, and there are currently no mandatory evacuations or evacuation advisories for Mariposa County.

Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows is still evacuated.

The Stanislaus National Forest Closure Order for the Rim Fire area has been expanded along the northern end of the fire's edge. Please see the closure announcement and closure area map for more details. Note that the Dodge Ridge Ski Area is still open.

Smoke from the Rim Fire has settled into Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Foresta and other areas, causing air quality impacts. This will persist for the next few days, particularly in the morning hours.

Active fire behavior continued into the late evening and moderated overnight as humidity recovered. Moderate rates of spread were observed both in advancing ground fire and burnout operations.

Weather conditions will be similar to yesterday although slightly drier. Light showers possible with little to no rainfall and a 10 percent chance of thunderstorms. Smoke exposure and air quality will continue to be a concern to the public and fire crews.

Spotting is possible on burnout operations and resulting in slow and cautions progression. The Incident Management Team 1 will transfer from Wilkins to McGowan tomorrow.

0903 Rim Fire Morning Smoke
Smoke from the Rim Fire settles into canyons and low-lying areas in the early morning hours. This photo is from 19,000 feet at 8:30 a.m. today, looking southwest between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. (Al Gibes / Capital Public Radio)
 


6 a.m.: Humidity and Lower Temps Help Increase Containment


The evacuation advisory for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest has been lifted, and there are currently no mandatory evacuations or evacuation advisories for Mariposa County.

Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows is still evacuated.

The Stanislaus National Forest Closure Order for the Rim Fire area has been expanded along the northern end of the fire's edge. Please see the closure announcement and closure area map for more details. Note that the Dodge Ridge Ski Area is still open.

Smoke from the Rim Fire has settled into Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Foresta and other areas, causing air quality impacts. This will persist for the next few days, particularly in the morning hours.

Active fire behavior continued into the late evening and moderated overnight as humidity recovered. Moderate rates of spread were observed both in advancing ground fire and burnout operations.

Weather conditions will be similar to yesterday although slightly drier. Light showers possible with little to no rainfall and a 10 percent chance of thunderstorms. Smoke exposure and air quality will continue to be a concern to the public and fire crews.

Spotting is possible on burnout operations and resulting in slow and cautions progression. The Incident Management Team 1 will transfer from Wilkins to McGowan tomorrow.

0903 Rim Fire Crews Staging
Holding crews stage on Highway 120. (Photo by Mike McMillan - USFS)
 
 
Incident Statistics
Acres Burned: 235,841 (368 square miles)
Structures Threatened: 5,500
Containment: 75%
Estimated Full Containment date: Sept. 20th
Residences Destroyed: 11
Fire Start Date: August 17, 2013
Commercial Property Destroyed: 3
Fire Cause: Under Investigation
Outbuildings Destroyed: 97
Cost to date: $72 million Injuries: 5
Total Personnel: 4,359

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 4,359
Size 235,841 acres
Percent Contained 75%
Estimated Containment Date Friday September 20th, 2013 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Brush, Oaks, and Pine

Fire Behavior

Active fire behavior continued into the late evening and moderated overnight as humidities recovered. 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

Good progress was made with burnout operations on the northwestern and southwestern edges of the fire. Mandatory evacuations continue south of HWY 120 towards Yosemite National Park north of the Old Yosemite Road. 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 continues for areas east of Highway 108 from Ponderosa Hills north to Pinecrest. 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. 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. Patrol and mopup in all areas except the southeastern edge.

Growth Potential

Extreme

Terrain Difficulty

Extreme

Remarks

Very active fire and extensive spotting continue to hamper suppression efforts and pose risks to firefighters. Type 1 helicopters are providing point protection and cooling areas where direct line construction can be achieved safely. Approximately 4,500 structures remain threatened in advance of the fire on both the east and west sides. Fire is expected to continue its eastward spread father into the west side of Yosemite National Park east of Aspen Valley.

Due to inaccessible steep terrain and extreme fire behavior suppression efforts on active portions of the fire are being significantly challenged. Heavy reliance on aviation resources has been critical in an effort to slow the fire's progress to allow suppression resources to establish indirect control lines in areas where accessibility and safety can be achieved. The availability of heavy aircraft is pertinent to the success of suppression efforts.

Continued warmer and drier weather is forecasted for the next several days, which will elevate control concerns and slow burnout progress. Remotely piloted aircraft is providing realtime visual and infrared intelligence on the fire.

Transition to Incident Management Team Type 1 (Wilkins)to Incident Management Team Type 1 (McGowan) will occur on September 4, 2013.

Current Weather

Wind Conditions 5 mph SE
Temperature 65 degrees
Humidity 58%



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