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Railroad spot fire from Road 620 - photo by Dan Burnett

Activity On Railroad Fire Slows As Weather Cooperates

OAKHURST — After a very active 24 hours on the Railroad Fire on Sunday, things were quite a bit calmer today.

With cooperation from the weather in the form of lower temperatures, higher humidities and calm winds, firefighters made some good progress.

The fire is still being estimated at 9,790 acres with 23 percent containment. There has been an update to the number of structures destroyed, with the total now at 14, with 500 currently threatened.

At 8 p.m. tonight, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office announced that evacuation orders for Fish Camp from the Mariposa County line to the south entrance to Yosemite (Wawona) will be lifted at 9 p.m. tonight, for residents only.

Highway 41 at the Mariposa County Line through to Oakhurst remains closed. Residents will need to use the Wawona Entrance Gate to return home.

Please drive with caution as fire crews and heavy equipment remain in the area.

On the firelines today, the morning’s heat brought reports of several spot fires near the southwest perimeter. Two helicopters got busy with bucket work to knock those down.

Last evening, a spot fire outside the lines near the Miami Mountain Trail presented problems, as winds kicked up and trees torched. Firefighters pulled back and regrouped, and dozers moved in to cut line back away from the fire’s edge.

Today, most of the resources assigned to that southwest perimeter were working the spot fire. Crews started up on the top and came around the west side with hand line and dozers, and put in hose lay. Any growth was seen on the east side, but the night shift will continue to secure the perimeter.

About 11:30 a.m., the incident meteorologist notified all divisions that there was weak shower activity about seven miles south-southeast of the fire. It was not producing any thunderstorms at the time, but could create outflow winds out of the east with gusts up to 20 mph. The Fish Camp Area got a few sprinkles.

In the Sugar Pine area, crews have been conducting burning operations on the east side of Lewis Creek. They should be finishing up just as the night shift takes over.

A lot of dozer line was put in around Cedar Valley today, and up to Calvin Crest. The fire continues to back toward the structures, but engines are in there doing structure protection, with good success. The fire is also backing down the road that leads into the camp.

In the northeast corner, crews continue to construct and hold indirect line. There was no major movement there today as the fire “chews away” inside the line.

At Rainier Creek north of Jackson Road, hand crews and Crane Valley Hot Shots worked along the fireline, met in the middle, then starting prepping trails and doing a little light firing as needed to bring the fire down to the creek.

The fire continues to back into and across Nelder Grove. Planners say that is the best possible way fire could hit the grove, as opposed to rushing up the mountain and torching and crowning, endangering the ancient trees. The effects of the fire in the grove won’t be known until assessment teams are able to get in after things cool off.

Weather-wise, the day was described as “soupy,” with not a lot of air movement, and not a lot of active burning.

It is expected to remain much the same throughout the night, with temperatures slightly lower than previous days, and much higher humidity, with recovery in the 70 to 80 percent range in the valleys. No thunderstorms are anticipated and there is nothing on the radar that causes planners any concern.

The night shift will be focused on preventing any spread into Cedar Valley, Calvin Crest and Sugar Pine, securing spot fires and patrolling structures.

Once again, air operations were hampered by dense smoke as the Railroad Fire, the Peak Fire in Mariposa County, and the Mission Fire in North Fork all contribute to the bad air quality. Air ops were limited on all three fires today.

There has been one injury reported to a firefighter.

Closures and evacuations on the Railroad Fire (in addition to Sky Ranch):

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the Cedar Valley Subdivision, including the following roads:

  • Cedar Valley Drive
  • Deer Run Trail
  • Lazy Oak Drive
  • Cedar Brook Road
  • Cedar Springs Road
  • Mountain Meadow Road
  • Chu Ranch Road
  • Tolladay Road
  • Jackson Road
  • Cedar Ridge Circle North and South
  • ManzanitA Drive
  • Three Springs Road
  • Lakeside Drive
  • Cedar Place

Highway 41 remains closed in both directions from Cedar Valley on the south (about three miles north of Oakhurst), to Wawona inside Yosemite National Park. Yosemite visitors should use Highway 49 to Highway 140 or 120 for entrance to the National Park.

Jackson Road (6S07) is closed from Fish Camp to Beasore Road.

The mandatory evacuation for the the community of Fish Camp and the Tenaya Lodge has been lifted. The Narrow Gauge Inn, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, the community of Sugar Pine including the Christian Camp, Cedar Valley, Sky Ranch, Big Sandy and Summerdale campgrounds, Nelder Grove, Camp Redwood, Paradise Springs, Calvin Crest, ECCO Conference Center, and Soquel and Texas Flat campgrounds remain under an evacuation order.

Road 620 (Bissett Station) has been given an evacuation advisory due to the spot fire just north toward Miami Motorcycle Trails.

Forest Road Closures

  • Road 632 (Sky Ranch)
  • 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).

There are three Red Cross Evacuation Centers now open for wildfire evacuees:

Also, the Central California Animal Disaster Team (CCADT) has re-activated a small animal shelter at the Oakhurst Community Center Pavilion Building. Large animals can be sheltered at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds, at 44777 Rodeo Grounds Lane in Coarsegold. The phone number is 559-676-7864.

For animal evacuations, people will need to call the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at (559) 675-7770 to request help. CCADT will be working with Madera County Animal Control to help with evacs if needed

The hot line number for the Red Cross is 559-343-2549.

All roads past Wawona inside Yosemite are open, except Glacier Point Road, which was closed last Sunday due to increased fire activity on the Empire Fire.

For fire updates, residents and visitors can message RAILROADFIRE (one word) to 888777.

A fire information line has been established for the Railroad Fire at 559-373-0040.

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. It is burning on the Bass Lake Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

 

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