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Saturday night on the Ferguson Fire - photo Blake Scott

Firefighters Secure Line North Of Jerseydale, Ferguson Fire Now 13% Contained

MARIPOSA COUNTY – As they move into day number 10 on the Ferguson Fire, crews are making progress on containment, now estimated at 13 percent.

The fire has charred 33,743 acres and destroyed one nonresidential structure, say fire officials. The number of structures still threatened is reported at 3,494.

There are currently 3,066 personnel assigned to the incident including 199 engines, 66 crews, 46 water tenders, 43 dozers, 16 helicopters, and fixed-wing tankers as conditions allow.

There is encouraging news for residents of Jerseydale and Mariposa Pines this morning as the horseshoe of fireline that runs around the northern edge these communities has been moved into the “contained” column, extending west and north up toward Sweetwater Ridge. Firefighters have had great success protecting these structures, and continue mop-up operations.

North of the Merced River on the Stanislaus National Forest, fire managers are using a mix of heavy equipment and hand crews to widen existing roads and build line in the Montgomery Gulch area. Line construction is progressing east toward Eagle Peak and Buena Vista.

To the south, the fire continues to burn in the Chowchilla Mountain area, and indirect line construction is moving forward to protect Wawona and keep the fire from pushing into Yosemite National Park.

On the northeast section near Yosemite West, crews are prepared for firing operations to remove fuels ahead of the fire. Those operations were halted yesterday when weather conditions were deemed unsuitable for best results, but crews are ready to go.

Strategic firing operations along the Sweetwater drainage are complete and the western perimeter south of the Merced River is holding well.

Weather forecasts are calling for hotter and drier air throughout the week as conditions align for critical and extreme fire weather in the coming days.

We will update with details of the day’s activities on the line after this evening’s briefing.

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 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).

Though the west entrance (El Portal) to Yosemite National Park on Highway 140 is closed, the park remains open. For information on Yosemite National Park, go to nps.gov/yose or call 209-372-0200.

The Incident Command Post for the Ferguson Fire is now 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.

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.

There will be a celebration of the life of Cal Fire Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney on Monday, July 23, in Modesto. It will be live-streamed at https://vimeo.com/calfire.

Evacuations

Mandatory evacuations are in place for:

  • Savage Trading Post
  • Redbud Lodge
  • Cedar Lodge
  • Indian Flat Campground
  • Mariposa Pines
  • Sweetwater Ridge
  • Ferguson Ridge
  • Jerseydale including all residences on Jerseydale Road, Hites Cove Road and all side roads from Triangle Road to the end of Hites Cove 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

Advisories have been issued for the following locations:

  • Lushmeadows Community
  • Ponderosa Basin Community
  • Triangle Road from Jerseydale Road to Highway 49 South including all side roads
  • 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, Wass Road and Tip Top 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.

The following Red Cross locations are open to assist anyone affected by wildfires:

A Red Cross Evacuation Center has been established at the New Life Christian Church located at 5089 Cole Road in Mariposa. 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.

The evacuation center  located at Yosemite Valley Elementary school closed at 12 noon on July 21, and residents needing shelter are encouraged to go to New Life Christian Fellowship.

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.

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.

Also closed are Jerseydale Road, Hites Cove Road and all side roads from Triangle Road to the end of Hites Cove Road; River Road from Briceburg to the gate at Railroad Flat and all campground areas are closed; Hites Cove Road from Bear Clover Road to the Merced River, Anderson Valley Road and 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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