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Rim Fire - Friday Update: Burnout Operations and Air Attack Slow Fire's Growth



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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 30, 2013

 

 Latest U.S. Forest Service Incident Report

Update: 11:15 a.m. - Burnout Operations and Air Attack Slow Fire's Growth

Successful burnout operations are slowing the Rim Fire onits north and southeastern ends, including the area south of Hatch Hetchy Reservoir. 

The fire has grown to 201,894 acres, with containment at 32 percent. Three commercial buildings have been lost, along with 97 outbuildings and 11 residences.

The began Sept. 17, and has cost $47 million to date.

From the USFS incident report:

Acres Burned: 201,894 (315 square miles) Structures Threatened: 4,500
Containment: 32% Residences Destroyed: 11
Fire Start Date: August 17, 2013 Commercial Property Destroyed: 3
Fire Cause: Under Investigation Outbuildings Destroyed: 97
Cost to date: $47 million Injuries: 4
Total Personnel: 4,931


Fire crews continued construction of fire line along 3N01 Road to stop fire spread to the north. Structure defense continues in Pinecrest, Mi-Wuk Village, Confidence, Cold Springs, and Hodgdon Meadow and Big Oak Flat in Yosemite National Park.

Today’s plans are to continue the burnout in the Yosemite National Park south of Hetch Hetchy. If conditions allow, the Duckwall Mountain north to Fahey Meadow burnout will start. Air operations will be used to support all firefighting efforts, as needed.

Update: 12:00 a.m. -  Rapid Fire Growth Hampers Firefighters

Aerial resources - including heavy air tankers and Type 1 helicopters - are the most effective tools in controlling the fire's spread and dealing with hot spots.

Mandataory evacuations continue in areas south of Highway 120 on the south eastern edge of the fire and towards Yosemite National Park north of Old Yosemite Road. Tioga Road west of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area is also closed.

The fire area has grown to 199,237 acres, with 4,927 people assigned to the incident. Containment stood at 32 percent late Thursday.

Video from Yosemite National Park YouTube channel



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 farther into the west side of Yosemite National Park, east of Aspen Valley. Several residents remain under mandatory evacuation in the Scotts Ridge area south of Highway 120.

 0829 Rim Fire PGE repairs

A crew from Pacific Gas and Electric repairs lines inside the Rim Fire burn area. (Photo courtesy USFS and PG&E)

Evacuation advisories in Tuolumne City, Soulsbyville, and Willow Springs were lifted today. The evacuation advisory remains in effect for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest.

A Forest Closure is in effect for locations near, and in, advance of the fire. Several locations on the west side of Yosemite National Park have had closures implemented as a result of the fire's spread.

Contingency planning, indirect line construction and preparation to the east of Highway 108 continue. Access and difficult terrain remain concerns for crews and equipment. Burnout operations were initiated South of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir inside Yosemite National Park.

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 elecate control concerns and slow burnout progress. Remotely piloted aircraft is providing realtime visual and infrared intelligence on the fire. Continued unified command with CAL FIRE.

Incident Statics
Acres Burned: 199,237 (311 square miles) Structures Threatened: 4,500
Containment: 32% Residences Destroyed: 11
Fire Start Date: August 17, 2013 Commercial Property Destroyed: 4
Fire Cause: Under Investigation Outbuildings Destroyed: 97
Cost to date: $47 Million Injuries: 4
Total Personnel: 4,927

Fire Update
The advisory evacuation notice for Tuolumne City, Soulsbyville and Willow Springs has been lifted. Firefighters began burning operations south of Hetch Hetchy and along Old Yosemite Road. Crews continue with line construction near Clavey Meadows near the 3N01 Road. Crews began removing fuels along the Tioga Road and Highway 120 near the Yosemite National Park entrance in preparation for the planned burnout. This work is to reduce the intensity of the burnout. The burnout has begun near Pilot Peak. Night 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 remain closed. If you have questions about Yosemite National Park 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; 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 1.5 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
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department has lifted the evacuation advisory for Tuolumne City, Soulsbyville and Willow Springs. The evacuation advisory remains in effect for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest. 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. 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. Evacuation centers are at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora and at the Greeley Hill Community Center.

 

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 4,931
Size 201,894 acres
Percent Contained 32%
Estimated Containment Date Friday September 20th, 2013 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Brush, Oaks, and Pine

Fire Behavior

Very active fire behavior into the late evening and continued active fire behavior overnight. Torching and passive crowning with considerable amounts of spotting. Moderate fire behavior with backing fire observedd where fire was burning from ridgetops downslope.

Significant Events

Mandatory evacuations continue South of HWY 120 on the south eastern edge of the fire and towards Yosemite National Park North of the Old Yosemite Road. Closure of Tioga Road West of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area. Structure defense around Aspen Valley by ground and aerial resources was occurring in the afternoon. Evacuation advisories in Tuolumne City, Soulsbyville, and Willow Springs were lifted today. The evacuation advisory remains in effect for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest. A Forest Closure is in effect for locations near, and in, advance of the fire. Several locations on the west side of Yosemite National Park have had closures implemented as a result of the fires spread. Contingency planning, indirect line construction and preparation to the east of Highway 108. Access and difficult terrain remain concerns for crews and equipment. Burnout operations were initiated South of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir inside Yosemite National Park. Burnout operations were completed between Big Oak Station to Hazel Green Ranch. Burnout operations were initiated between Hells Mountain to Clavey Meadow.

Outlook

Planned Actions

Burnout operations will continue South of HWY 120 on the southeastern edge of the fire from Pilot Ridge to Big Oak Flat Entrance Station. Continued direct and indirect line construction will take place, accompanied by burnout operations where accessibility and safety allow along the northern and eastern edges of the fire. There will be continued contingency line construction in advance of the communities of Tuolumne City, Twain Harte, and Long Barn. Mopup and and contingency line construction will take place on the western and southern edges of the fire. Continued construction and improvement of contingency lines along Dodge Ridge will happen. A burnout operation is planned for the eastern edge of the fire in Yosemite National Park between Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Harden Lake when conditions become favorable. There will also be burnout operations on the northern edge of the fire between Hells Mountain and Clavey Meadows.

Growth Potential

Extreme

Terrain Difficulty

Extreme

Remarks

Rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior continue to hamper suppression efforts. A significant utilization and reliance upon aerial resources with heavy air tankers including the VLAT DC-10 and MAFFS is occurring with reinforcement of control lines in advance of the fire's spread, control of spot fires, and slowing the fire's advancement through terrain inaccessible to ground resources to allow time for indirect line construction to be completed. 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 farther into the west side of Yosemite National Park, east of Aspen Valley. Several residents remain under mandatory evacuation in the Scotts Ridge area south of HWY 120.

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 elecate control concerns and slow burnout progress. Remotely piloted aircraft is providing realtime visual and infrared intelligence on the fire. Continued unified command with CAL FIRE.

 

Current Weather

Wind Conditions 5 mph NE
Temperature 67 degrees
Humidity 40%
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