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Dalton Hot Shots on Ferguson Fire - photo credit Kari Greer

Ferguson Fire Now Nearly 46,000 Acres, Still Active On The South

MARIPOSA COUNTY – While weather conditions were conducive around much of the Ferguson Fire for crews to shore up and expand containment lines, an evening wind shift posed a potential challenge to an already challenging section of the fire.

By morning, officials reported a 1,688-acre growth in the fire overnight to a total of 45,911 acres as of 6 a.m. Containment, however, rose to 29 percent.

Much of the active fire behavior was on the south where the fire slopped over the lines above Lushmeadows. Crews worked in steep terrain to widen and extend constructed containment lines designed to redirect fire that had jumped existing lines on Wednesday.

Daytime winds out of the southwest aided firefighters’ efforts by directing the fire back into its original perimeter, however a forecasted shift to northerly winds posed the danger of redirecting the flames toward the firefighters and the newly constructed containment lines.

Winds did make that noticeable shift out of the north at around 8 p.m., but mild wind speeds coupled with increased nighttime humidity limited the fire’s progression.

Crews on the western perimeter along Sweetwater Ridge worked on isolated hot spots inside the fireline overnight.

Across the north on the Stanislaus National Forest, firefighters improved existing containment lines, with plans to scout out potential lines closer to the fire’s edge during daylight hours.

On the east side, firing operations continued to remove available fuels between the fire and the communities of Yosemite West and El Portal.

Firefighters were successful in building additional contingency lines for added protection to affected communities. They will expand on these efforts today as a persistent inversion layer is expected to shield the fire from excessively high temperatures, while winds are expected to return to a west-southwesterly direction.

Fire officials estimate there are 5,245 structures threatened by the fire, and except for one historic, non-residential building along Highway 140, no structures have been lost.

Approximately 3,000 residents have been displaced by evacuation orders.

We will update with details of today’s activity on the firelines after tonight’s briefing.

There are currently 3,821 personnel assigned to the incident including 261 engines, 93 crews, 55 water tenders, 63 dozers, 16 helicopters, and fixed-wing tankers as conditions allow.

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

Make sure you are signed up to receive alerts if wildfire or other emergencies threaten.

A Ferguson Fire community meeting is scheduled for today, Friday, July 27, in Groveland at Tenaya Elementary School. Representatives from the Unified Command of Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service and the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office will present an overview of the current situation and actions underway to contain the fire. Please arrive early as the meetings will start promptly at 6 p.m. If you have questions about the meetings, please call the Ferguson Fire Info Line at (530) 377-6221.

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 Wednesday, July 25. 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.

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

New yesterday: Jerseydale Road is open with no restrictions as of 8 p.m. last night. There continues to be large amounts of fire related traffic in the area please drive with caution. The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office will continue heavy patrols in the area.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for:

  • Savage Trading Post
  • Redbud Lodge
  • Cedar Lodge
  • Indian Flat Campground
  • Ferguson Ridge
  • 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
  • Jerseydale and Sweetwater Ridge 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 Mariposa Elementary School at 5044 Jones Street in Mariposa. This shelter is accepting small pets with their owners.

The shelter at Mountain Christian Center at 40299 Highway 49 in Oakhurst has been closed due to lack of need by evacuees. They remain on standby and will reopen if conditions warrant.

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 is at full capacity.

Residents with small pets can be accommodated at the Mariposa Elementary School Shelter at 5044 Jones Street for those under mandatory evacuation, where Central California Animal Disaster Team (CCADT) is operating an emergency animal shelter. You must check in with Red Cross first. Please try to accommodate your pets with family and friends first, however your pet is welcome to be sheltered if necessary at the Mariposa Elementary School. For questions about pets, please call CCADT at 888-402-2238 ext. 0, and leave a message. Someone will return your call as soon as possible.

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 was closed beginning at noon on July 25.

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
  • 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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