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Rim Fire - Sunday Update: Winds Fan the Flames, Fire Now 14th Largest in CA History


Update: 8:05 p.m. - Winds Fan the Flames, Fire Now 14th Largest in CA History

Fire officials are calling the Rim Fire the 14th largest in California history, as the blaze spread today to 143,980 acres as of Sunday evening. Containment stands at 7 percent.

The fire is exhibiting continued growth to the northeast and east. On the western side of the fire, crews successfully conducted firing operations to bring the fire line down to the Tuolumne River in efforts to keep the fire from spreading to the west toward the Highway 108 corridor.

Aerial resources continue to be effective in reducing the spread of fire toward the Highway 108 corridor. Crews continue to construct line construction where accessibility and safety allows. In addition, structure defense and contingency planning continues in the Mather area.

Smoke continues to be an issue within the Rim Fire perimeter with visibility less than a mile.

The evacuation advisory and order were lifted for the residents of Pine Mountain Lake and Buck Meadows yesterday, with the exception of Graham Ranch Road.


Update: 3:05 p.m. - Rim Smoke Photo from NASA

0825 Rim Smoke NASA Photo
Smoke from the Rim Fire, Sunday afternoon. (NASA photo)

Update: 11:45 a.m. - Containment Growing Slowly

The Rim Fire remained active overnight its eastern edge, as steep, rugged terrain makes it difficult for firefighters to have direct access to the hot spots. A direct air attack using air tankers and helicopters is helping slow the fires' progress.

The fire has grown to 133,980 acres, with 7 percent containment. There are 2,846 personnel working the incident. 

Fire crews continue to work toward increasing containment of the Rim Fire on its eastern edge. A major effort is underway to hold the fire east of the North Fork of the Tuolumne River. Fire crews have strengthened fire lines that are holding above the community of Pine Mountain Lake. Additional efforts are focused on the eastern edge of the fire in Yosemite National Park.

Direct attack is being used in some areas of the fire and more will be utilized as firefighters gain safe access. In other areas of the Fire where extremely steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain exist, fire crews are using a tactic called indirect attack which creates control lines away from the fires active edge. Air resources, including several helicopters and air tankers, are being utilized to slow the forward progress of the fire.

0825 Rim Fire Map

Click for current Rim Fire map

0825 Rim Fire Sky 2 rotator

Skies above Cinko Lake near the edge of the Yosemite Wilderness are filled with smoke early last week, shortly after the Rim Fire started on Aug. 17. A similar view the day before is shown below. (Photos courtesy Mark McWhirter)
0825 Rim Fire Sky 1 rotator

0825 NASA Rim Fire Smoke Satellite Photo

Rim Fire smoke plume, Aug. 22, 2013 (NASA photo)

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 2,846
Size 133,980 acres
Percent Contained 7%
Fuels Involved

Brush, Oaks, and Pine

Fire Behavior

Fire remained fairly active overnight in most all divisions. Increased activity developed on the eastern edge of the fire with very active burning inclusive of rapid rates of spread, torching and spotting.

Significant Events

A forest closure is in effect for locations near and in advance of the fire. Evacuation advisories are still in effect for Tuolumne City and nearby areas along the Highway 108 corridor. Structure defense, contingency planning, indirect line construction and indirect line preparation to the east of Highway 108 corridor. Access and difficult terrain remain concerns for crews and equipment. Significant progress made on along the western edge of the fire with mop-up progress. Good progress was made with constructing and securing lines along the southwestern, northwestern and northern portions of the fire.


Planned Actions

Continued line construction where accessibility and safety allows.

Growth Potential


Terrain Difficulty



The Rim incident is expected to continue to exhibit very large fire growth due to extremely dry fuels and inaccessible terrain. Rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior and hampering suppression efforts. Aerial resources are being effective with MAFFs and VLAT DC-10 air tankers prepping locations in advance of the fires spread toward the Highway 108 corridor and along the eastern perimeter of the fire. The forecasted high winds and high potential for long range spotting however remains a significant concern for fire to advance beyond the retardant lines and allow for fire spread into the communities of Tuolumne City, Twain Harte and Long Barn to the west of the fire and east into the Hetch Hetchy watershed.

Current Weather

Wind Conditions 20 mph SW
Temperature 58 degrees
Humidity 58%

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