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Rim Fire - Saturday Update: Mandatory Evacuation Lifted



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(Sacramento, CA)
Saturday, August 31, 2013

 

Latest U.S. Forest Service Incident Report

 

UPDATE: 4:25 P.M. -  Mandatory Evacuation Lifted

ALERT:

The mandatory evacuation issued by the Mariposa County Sheriff's Office has been LIFTED for the areas north and south of Bull Creek Road to Little Grizzly Mountain as of 3:45PM, Saturday, August 31. For more information please contact the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office at: 209-966-1133.

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A spot fire crossed Old Yosemite Road Friday night, prompting the mandatory evacuation notice, which was lifted Saturday afternoon. Crews burned south from Hatch Hetchy Reservoir toward Harden Lake on the eastern flank.

Structure defense continues on the Highway 108 and Highway 120 corridors, and around Cherry Lake. 

Today’s operations included actions to control the spot fire south of Old Yosemite Road. Crews will also begin a burning operation from Duckwall Mountain north to Fahey Meadow along Forest Road 3N07and will continue a burning operation in Yosemite National Park near Harden Lake and south to White Wolf and to Tioga Road. Aircraft will continue to support burning operations.

The Rim Fire Information Lines are operational and staffed 24 hours a day, Sunday through Saturday. Rim Fire Information Lines are: 805-727-4775 and 805-727-4746. If these phone lines are busy, contact the Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor's Office at 209-768-9131 from 8am-8pm or contact the Groveland Ranger Station at 209-962-7825 Ext. 546, staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Update: 12:10 a.m. - Sheriff's Office Orders Mandatory Evacuations 

Fire crews continued to make progress on the Rim Fire Friday, as several burning operations, designed the remove fuel in the path of the approaching fire, were conducted. The "fighting fire with fire" operation reduces the fire's intensity.

As a result, containment of the fire has reached 35 percent as of late Friday. The fire has grown to 213,414 acres, or 333 square miles. There are 4,844 personnel working the incident, and 4,500 structures are threatened.

The two-week-old fire has cost $54 million to fight, and could takes weeks to fully contain.

Multiple burning operations took place today. Crews burned on Pilot Ridge, Pilot Peak and Crocker Ridge in the southern portion of the fire. They also burned south from Hetch Hetchy toward Harden Lake on the eastern flank, near Hells Mountain on the north end of the fire.

0831 rim fire pump -fullsize

Monterey Hot Shots hold the line earlier this week. (Photo courtesy USFS - Mike McMillan) 

Airtankers and helicopters have been supporting the burning operations. Crews are also working to remove fuels next to firelines in front of burnouts that are expected to continue through the weekend. Friday night's operations included continuation of burning operations, as well as providing structure defense.

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

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday 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. Residents living north of Old Yosemite Road (Forest Road 2S01) are under a Mandatory Evacuation. 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 4,995
Size 219,277 acres
Percent Contained 35%
Estimated Containment Date Friday September 20th, 2013 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Brush, Oaks, and Pine

Fire Behavior

Very active fire behavior on the south and east sides of the fire overnight with running surface fire, group tree torching with considerable amounts of spotting. Moderate fire behavior with backing fire observed where fire was burning from ridgetops downslope.

Significant Events

Burnout operations were completed between Big Oak Station to Hazel Green Ranch, however a large spot occurred southeast of Pilot Peak Lookout. 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. Mandatory evacuations north and south of Bull Creek Road to Little Grizzly Mountain. 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 on Thursday, August 29th. 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 the Highway 108 corridor. 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

Direct line construction with Type 1 crews supported by heavy aircraft to contain a large spot fire southeast of Pilot Lookout. Continued direct and indirect line construction accompanied by burnout oeprations where accessibility and safety allow along the northern and eastern edges of the fire. Burnout operations planned in the Hull Creek Drainage. 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 the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Harden Lake and along the Big Oak Road near Crane Flat as favorable conditions allow. burnout operations on the northern edge of the fire between Hells Mountain and Clavey Meadows will continue.

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 father 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 and near Little Grizzly Mountain.

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. Continued unified command with CAL FIRE.

 

Current Weather

Wind Conditions 12 mph NW
Temperature 68 degrees
Humidity 42%
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