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Rio Bravo Hotshots on Ferguson Fire - photo Stuart Palley for USFS

Ferguson Fire Reaches Merced River, Line To Elephant Rock Secured

YOSEMITE –  For the past week the Ferguson Fire has continued the slow process of backing down to the Merced River from Highway 41. It has now reached the river across most of the line and the acreage has increased very slightly to 96,824 acres.

The fireline from Glacier Point Road north to Elephant Rock has now been shown as secured in the morning mapping (see map below). However the official estimate of containment remains at 87 percent.

Firelines are in place and holding across the northern perimeter from Elephant Rock down to the river.

Though there have been a few flare-ups reported on the northeast section of the fire, they have all been within the containment lines and were quickly handled.

The date for full containment has been moved to Wednesday, Aug. 22, however interior parts of the forest will continue to smolder and burn for some time, causing lingering smoke.

The remainder of the fire is in mop-up and patrol status and restoration and suppression repair is underway.

All areas of Yosemite National Park are now open to the public except the section of Highway 41 (Wawona Road) between Wawona and the Tunnel View (see details below). There is no estimated date to reopen Highway 41. Crews are still dealing with roll-out as rocks and debris come down into the roadway where vegetation has been lost.

Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Teams have arrived and are continuing to assess the burned areas on Sierra and Stanislaus National Forests and Yosemite National Park. The BAER teams determine the level of potential risk as well as the appropriate and effective emergency stabilization measures needed in order to help reduce the risk from potential flooding and debris flows as winter weather arrives.

There are currently 833 personnel assigned to the incident with equipment that includes 39 water tenders, 11 masticators, 7 dozers, 3 crews and 3 helicopters.

The Ferguson Fire started on Friday, July 13, at 8:30 p.m., near Savage Trading Post on the south side of the Merced River canyon along Highway 140. The cause remains under investigation.

As of Aug. 14, some 1,254 acres had burned on the Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit, 65,460 acres on Sierra National Forest, 18,892 acres on the Stanislaus National Forest, and 11,000 acres on Yosemite National Park land.

Ten historic structures have been destroyed, though no inhabited homes have been lost.

There have been 19 firefighter injuries reported. There have been two fatalities on the fire; HFEO Braden Varney was killed in a dozer rollover accident on July 14, and Brian Hughes, Arrowhead Hotshot Captain, lost his life on July 29 when he was struck by a tree during a firing operation.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is experiencing high fire danger, along with continued hot and dry weather patterns.

Due to the current and predicted fire conditions and fire behavior, the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park has implemented Stage II fire restrictions until further notice is given. Click here for details.

Yosemite Valley reopened to visitors on Aug. 14, at 9 a.m., after being closed since July 25. Visitors can access Yosemite Valley from the El Portal Road (Highway 140), the Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), or the Tioga Road (Highway 120).

The Wawona Road (Highway 41) will remain closed from Wawona to Yosemite Valley until further notice due to ongoing fire activity and firefighter operations. Park visitors should be aware that there is still active fire and smoke on the roads and people should drive with extreme caution.

Delays on the roads are possible due to fire activity and ongoing firefighter operations. There will be limited hours and limited visitor services at park facilities as the park returns to normal operations.

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias reopened to the public on Monday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m. Visitors can access the Mariposa Grove via the South Entrance (Highway 41) and park in the newly-constructed parking area.

The free shuttle buses to the Mariposa Grove begin at 9 a.m., and take visitors to the newly-restored Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.

Visitors will be able to travel to the Wawona area via the South Entrance (Highway 41). However, there is no access to Yosemite Valley via Highway 41.

The Glacier Point Road remains closed and is expected to open when the Wawona Road (Highway 41) reopens.

The Hetch Hetchy Road and dam reopened on Saturday, Aug. 11. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again. Updated information is also available on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/yose and on the Yosemite National Park Facebook page.

Air quality issues

For information on air quality 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.

General Information

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.

Operations on the fire are being conducted under a joint delegation of authority from the Sierra and Stanislaus National Forests, and Yosemite National Park. The Incident Command Post for the Ferguson Fire is located at the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park.

The information line for the Ferguson Fire has changed. The phone number for media and the public is 530-377-6424.

Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Jason Kuiken has signed a forest order closing several Groveland Ranger District roads and trails impacted by the Ferguson Fire. This closure is based on the current and expected fire behavior and will be in effect until Sept. 30, or until replaced or rescinded. Click here for details and a map of the closure.

Be sure you are signed up to receive alerts when wildfire or other emergencies threaten.

Evacuations

  • There are no current evacuations.

Road and Trail Closures

  • Highway 140 reopened to the public on Aug. 14, at 9 a.m.
  • Highway 41 reopened on Monday, Aug. 13, for access to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Wawona. There is a hard closure from Yosemite West to the Tunnel View – residents, employees, contractors, and those with reservations only are allowed as far as Yosemite West. No estimated date to reopen has been given.
  • Glacier point Road is closed
  • Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) into the Valley reopened to the public at 9 a.m. on Aug. 14.
  • Pohono Trail along the south rim of Yosemite Valley is closed at Tunnel View.

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