YOSEMITE – A wildfire burning near El Portal is threatening homes in the Foresta area, and has promted evacuations and road closures along Highway 140.
The fire was reported at 3:19 p.m. on Saturday, July 26. It started just above Old El Portal near Foresta and burned very rapidly up Merced Canyon, consuming approximately 2,100 acres as of 9 p.m., just six hours after ignition.
What has been dubbed the El Portal Fire is burning in Yosemite National Park and on the Stanislaus National Forest.
Smoke from the fire can be seen from all over the Valley and across the mountain communities.
Some structures have been destroyed so far and more are threatened.
Red Cross shelters are being set up at the Groveland Community Center located at 18583 Main Street in Groveland and the Tenaya Lodge located at 1122 Highway 41 in Fish Camp.
Road closures according to the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office:
- Foresta Rd is closed at Highway 140
- Crane Creek Rd is closed at Highway 140
- Big Oak Flat Rd is closed between Highways 120 and 140
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services is urging all drivers to use Highway 41 due to firefighting efforts in and near El Portal. Please avoid Highways 140 and 120 until further notice. With road closures in the area, travelers are well advised to use Highway 41 to enter and leave the park.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.