OAKHURST — Firefighters are making very good progress on the Railroad Fire, which is now estimated at 12,407 acres and is 75 percent contained.
Fireline has been completed around the entire perimeter (see large map at end of article) and crews continue to do mop-up and hit hot spots near the fire’s edge. Smoke will still be visible in some areas as interior fuels continue to smolder.
Some crews are being demobilized to return to their home units or be available for other fires in the region. There are currently 811 personnel assigned to the incident.
There have been 6 firefighter injuries and 17 structures lost.
The line around the spot fire north of Road 620 has been completed, and the fire is 80 percent contained at 706 acres.
The only uncontained fireline is on the east flank from Nelder Grove up through Big Sandy to just southwest of White Chief, but there have been no reports of concerning fire activity in that area.
A drive up Sky Ranch Road shows that there is no fire on either side of the road all the way up to Soquel Meadow. Camp Redwood, both upper and lower, and Paradise Springs are pristine and intact.
On the road into Calvin Crest, the burn area starts about 1/2 mile in, and is only on the left (south) side. The fire did not cross the road to the north. (Note: this photo is on the way out). It did burn all the way up to the camp gate, where the pink dusting is evidence of the retardant drops all around the camp itself.
Though the information coming from fire managers was that no structures had been lost, Joel Gist, Director of Operations at Calvin Crest, contacted us to let us know that indeed two structures were lost. They were both north of Sugar Pine road. One was a bathroom and the other was a kitchen/ bunk house.
“The bunk house was part of our Outpost camp,” says Joel. “It is true that the firefighters saved the vast majority of the camp.”
On the 6S47Y road that turns off Sky Ranch and leads into Nelder Grove, the fire starts just before the intersection with the 6S90 road, on the west side of the road.
Heading up at the turnoff to Nelder Grove campground (5S19 road), there is fire on both sides of the road, but the results look to be the best one could have hoped for with the heavy fuel loads in the grove. The fire has creeped and backed through the area, removing all but the big logs, with very little indication of tree torching or crown fire.
The cabins that were wrapped with fire protective material have survived, and crews are working all through the area doing mop-up and securing the lines.
It will be interesting to see the results of this fire along the Graveyard of the Giants trail after things have cooled off enough to make the hike.
There was no more evidence of fire all the way up past Soquel and just past the intersection at the 5S95X road. But there was this spectacular vista.
In addition to continuing the work of containing and controlling the fire, crews have begun fireline suppression repair on areas damaged during fire suppression and line construction activity.
Resource Advisors from the Forest Service have identified the extent of suppression repair needed, and any cultural resources which may have been impacted. Repairs can vary depending upon the intended use of the affected area after the fire.
With Highway 41 open, drivers are urged to drive with caution as a large firefighting presence remains along the highway, residential streets and Forest roads.
CalTrans does have parking restrictions in place along the highway due to fire crews still preforming suppression repair work. Travelers can expect to see smoke within the fire area as interior islands, and heavy down material smolder.
The Railroad Fire was reported at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, just south of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad on the west side of Highway 41.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
All evacuation orders have been lifted.
Update on Forest Road closures:
- Road 632 (Sky Ranch) beyond Buckskin
- Forest Road 6S07 (Jackson Road) to Beasore
- Forest Road 5S10 at 5S39
- Forest Road 6S13 at Road 274
- Forest Road 6S08 at 6S36
- Forest Road 6S10 at 6S39
- Forest Road 6S99 at Beasore Road
- Forest Road 6S40 at Beasore Road
- Forest Road 6S40X at Beasore Road
- Forest Road 5S40Y at Beasore Road
- Worman Road one mile in from Highway 49 (at Road 601).