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Ferguson Fire at night - photo credit Blake Scott

Ferguson Fire Jumps Lines On The South, Forces More Evacuations

MARIPOSA COUNTY – Residents on the north side of the community of Lushmeadows likely had their eyes on Kirby Peak throughout the night, and at 5 a.m., were notified it was time to evacuate as the Ferguson Fire spotted across containment lines on the south edge of the fire.

The fire is now estimated at 38,522 acres and is 25 percent contained.

Just after 10 p.m. last night, several spot fires were reported by Air Attack in the area of Smithers Road and Vista Lago north of East Westfall Road, with “a lot of heat on the wrong side of the dozer line.”

At 5 a.m., residents on the north side of Triangle Road and East Westfall were notified they would have to leave.

At 6 a.m., Air Attack reported the spot fire(s) at about 28 acres, with most of the growth pushing back up the hill toward the main fire. An engine strike team (five engines) and four crews were called to respond for “immediate need” to the Triangle Road area.

At 6:10 a.m., Air Attack reported that the spot fire had become pretty well established between the 5S025X and 5S025Y Roads in the Magoon Creek area, and located another small spot fire about 1/2 mile to the east above Smithers Road.

The fire was reported to be well-established below Kirby Peak and the wind was spotting it out ahead of itself.

Just after 8 a.m., a mandatory evacuation was issued for the communities of Ponderosa and Lushmeadows (see details below).

Dense smoke this morning will once again prove challenging for air operations.

Other parts of the fire were relatively calm throughout much of the night, say fire officials, as a heavy inversion layer kept fire growth to 727 acres overnight.

Crews patrolled the Jerseydale and Mariposa Pines communities as law enforcement continued to incrementally repopulate the area after mandatory evacuations.

No significant growth was reported along the fire’s western perimeter overnight. Winds from the west and northwest today are expected to keep the fire from challenging this perimeter, allowing crews to continue strengthening the containment line.

While steep and dense terrain made direct assault on the fire’s northern perimeter impractical, crews continued construction of indirect containment lines from the Merced River north along Soapstone Ridge and toward Pilot Ridge.

Retardant drops yesterday along the eastern perimeter provided crews a temporary buffer for firing operations, to add and strengthen containment lines. Minimal growth was reported in this area. Crews also patrolled structures for site protection and defensible space.

There are currently 3,434 personnel assigned to the incident including 220 engines, 88 crews, 47 water tenders, 59 dozers, 16 helicopters, and fixed-wing tankers as conditions allow.

There will be a community meeting on the Ferguson Fire at 6 p.m. tonight in Greeley Hill at the Greeley Hill Community Center.

The Glacier Point Road inside Yosemite National Park has been closed to accommodate firefighting resources and activities at a small base camp located at the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area (formerly Badger Pass) and Bridalveil Creek Campground (which is also closed).

The west entrance (El Portal) to Yosemite National Park on Highway 140 is closed.

Yosemite Valley and Wawona are closed to the public as of noon today. The closure is expected to last through Sunday, July 29. Highway 120 east and west remains open, along with Tuolumne Meadows. For information on Yosemite National Park, go to nps.gov/yose or call 209-372-0200.

As of July 21, there are fire restrictions in place on the Sierra National Forest. Please read and be informed before you use any type of fire in the forest.

The Incident Command Post for the Ferguson Fire is located at the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park. Please be aware of heavy fire equipment moving through the area.

The fire is under Unified Command with Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, Yosemite National Park and the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. Management of the fire transitioned to a Type 1 Management Team – California Team 4 on Thursday, July 19.

There have been seven firefighter injuries reported, and several instances of heat exhaustion-type symptoms. There has been one fatality on the fire.

The Ferguson Fire started on Friday, July 13, at 8:30 p.m. The cause remains under investigation.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire is impacting the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District and across the region. For information specific to Mariposa County visit http://www.mariposacounty.org/index.aspx?NID=1434. For additional information on air quality you can visit the AirNow website or the air fire smoke page.

Residents can check the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s wildfire page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires for information about any current wildfires and whether they are impacting the Valley. The District’s Real-time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) provides localized air quality data from an extensive air-monitoring network which allows Valley residents to track PM at any Valley address by visiting myraan.com.

Evacuations

Mandatory evacuations are in place for:

  • Savage Trading Post
  • Redbud Lodge
  • Cedar Lodge
  • Indian Flat Campground
  • Sweetwater Ridge
  • Ferguson Ridge
  • Jerseydale including all residences on Jerseydale Road, and all side roads on Hites Cove Road from Triangle Road to Best Road
  • Incline Road from Clearing House to the Foresta Bridge in El Portal
  • The BLM campgrounds in Briceburg are closed until further notice
  • El Portal Trailer Park
  • Old El Portal
  • Rancheria Flat- Government Housing
  • Foresta
  • Yosemite View Lodge
  • Yosemite West
  • Anderson Valley
  • Old Yosemite Road
  • The north side of Triangle Road from Vista Lago to East Westfall and all side roads to the north
  • The north side of East Westfall to Old Mill and all side roads to the north
  • East Westfall Road to Chowchilla Mountain Road and all side roads
  • Entire Ponderosa Subdivision
  • Entire Lushmeadows Subdivisions
  • Triangle Road from Darrah Road in the Lushmeadows area to Highway 49 South and all side roads
  • Tip Top Road from Triangle Road to Gunther Road including Gunther Road

Advisories have been issued for the following locations:

  • Darrah Road from Triangle to Sherrod Road
  • East side of Highway 49S from Darrah Road to Harris Cutoff Road – This includes Boyer Road, Woodland Area and Wass Road
  • Mariposa Pines on Scott Road from Best Road to the end of Hites Cove Road, including all side roads
  • Highway 49 South from Stumpfield Mountain Road to the Mariposa/Madera County Line including Kimble Road
  • Stumpfield Mountain Road
  • Watt Road

These areas are NOT under a mandatory evacuation order. This is an advisement only of a potential evacuation order should conditions change.

Should these areas come under a mandatory evacuation order you will be notified via the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Alert System by text, email and a voice call, the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, and door-to-door communication by Sheriff’s Office staff. At that time you will be notified of the best routes of travel to safely evacuate your residence.

A Red Cross Evacuation Center has been established at:

The shelter at  New Life Christian Church located at 5089 Cole Road in Bootjack has been closed.

If you have been evacuated due to the Ferguson Fire, the Sheriff’s Office asks that you please check in with the Red Cross Shelter even if you do not plan to stay there.

If you are in a Mandatory Evacuation or Advisory Area and may require assistance with evacuation transportation due to special needs or medical issues, please contact Human Services toll free at 1-833-423-0816 as soon as possible.

Planning ahead will help with a safe and timely evacuation.

Animal Evacuation Centers

Small Animal Shelter is at SPCA of Mariposa County, 5599 Highway 49 in Mariposa. Residents with small pets can be accommodated at the Mariposa Elementary School Shelter.

Large Animal Shelter is at the Mariposa County Fairgrounds, 5007 Fairgrounds Road in Mariposa.

Road Closures

Highway 140 is closed from the El Portal entrance gate to 14 miles north of Mariposa.

Wawona Road (Highway 41) between Chilnualna Falls Road in Wawona and Bridalveil Falls Road in Yosemite Valley will be closed beginning at noon today.

Also closed are:

  • Triangle Road, from Darrah Road to Highway 49 south and all side roads
  • Chowchilla Mountain Road at Highway 49 south
  • Harris Road at Highway 49 south
  • Tip Top Road from Triangle Road to Gunther Road
  • All roads inside Lushmeadows Subdivision
  • All roads inside Ponderosa Basin Subdivision
  • Jerseydale Road
  • Hites Cove Road (Mariposa Pines area)
  • Hites Cove Road from Bear Clover Road to the Merced River
  • River Road from Briceburg to the gate at Railroad Flat and all campgrounds
  • Anderson Valley Road
  • Old Yosemite Road

Cooperating Agencies include the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, Madera County Sheriff’s Office, CAL OES, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, American Red Cross, National Weather Service, California Conservation Corps, BLM and additional agencies throughout the state.

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