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Smoke from the South Fork Fire - photo NPS

South Fork Fire Now 3,800 Acres, Evacuations Still In Place

YOSEMITE — Firing operations on the South Fork Fire have proceeded according to plan as crews continue to focus on protecting the community of Wawona.

The fire is now estimated at 3,820 acres with 17 percent containment. There are 765 personnel assigned to the incident including 22 hand crews, 7 helicopters and 20 engines, with air tankers as available.

There is no new word on when the mandatory evacuation order for Wawona may be lifted, but we will update this article throughout the day as new information comes it.

Crews are staged throughout the community of Wawona for structure protection and security patrols are on duty 24/7 to ensure that vacant homes are secure. Roadblocks remain in place.

Burning operations above Wawona were successful yesterday as crews brought the fire down the containment line to the South Fork of the Merced.

Today crews will finish burning the lower area along the river and continue to mop up on the west side. Firefighters have been inserted into the southeast portion of the fire to check the eastern spread and monitor the fireline north of the river.

Dense smoke continues to hamper air operations in the morning hours.

The fire remains active along the western and eastern edges. Crews continue to strengthen lines with firing operations located east of Wawona in Division A (See map below). Heavy inversions are still grounding aircraft until late afternoon. When these inversions lift, fire activity increases.

Thunderstorm activity is expected again today and may cause erratic winds over the fire area. Storms are predicted to decrease throughout the week as a system of higher pressure moves into the region.

Generally light slope and terrain winds can be expected through the period with little diurnal change in temperatures and humidity. A slightly drier, warmer and more stable air mass will move into the district Thursday and continue through Saturday.

A Red Cross Evacuation Center has been set up at the Tenaya Lodge, and the Central California Animal Disaster Team has a small animal emergency shelter in Fish Camp at the old volunteer fire station, 7724 Summit Road. For information on the animal shelter, please text CCADT at 559-433-9663. Texting is preferred since cell reception can be a problem in the area.

To read about Saturday night’s community meeting at the Tenaya Loge, click here.

There is a live information phone number and email for the South Fork Fire. The phone will be answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 209-379-5322, or email SouthForkFireinfo@gmail.com.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The estimated date of containment is Sunday, Sept. 3.

The following areas are closed until further notice:

  • The Swinging Bridge Trail on both the north and south sides of the South Fork of the Merced River.
  • The Chilnualna Falls Trail from Wawona Trailhead to the top of Chilnualna Falls.
  • The two mile connecting trail heading north from the top of Chilnualna Falls to the intersection of the Buena Vista Trail.
  • The Chilnualna Creek Trail from the top of Chilnualna Falls east to the intersection of the Buena Vista and Buck Camp trails (Just east of Johnson Lake).
  • Off-trail areas in the vicinity are closed (i.e. all areas within the shaded circle on the map below).
  • All climbing routes on and around Wawona Dome are closed.
  • Bridalveil Creek Campground closed on Wednesday morning.
  • Wawona trail (mule) rides are not operating.
  • Big Trees Golf Course is closed.
  • The Badger Pass-Glacier Point shuttle will not operate until further notice as the incident command post is occupying the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area facility and parking lot.
  • The Glacier Point Road will will remain open to the public however it will close periodically between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day when parking at Glacier Point fills to capacity (and will reopen when sufficient space is available). Traffic delays should be expected.
  • A voluntary ban on wood fires is in place in Yosemite Valley to reduce smoke. A mandatory ban may be instituted in the days to come.

For additional information:

Air quality links for Yosemite National Park:
https://app.airsis.com/USFS/UnitMap
https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/aqmonitoring.htm

Click here for a detailed IAP map.

Click here for a heat map.

Click here for interactive map.

 

 

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