MARIPOSA COUNTY – Firefighters had a productive night with tactical firing operations as they made progress toward full suppression on the Ferguson Fire.
Officials reported the fire grew by 2,178 acres overnight and is now at 56,659 acres, still with 30 percent containment.
Last night, starting at about 7 p.m., crews began burning inside Yosemite National Park, south along Wawona Road (Highway 41) from Henness Ridge, and will continue as conditions allow until the line is complete to Wawona Campground.
North of Ponderosa Basin on the southern perimeter, firefighters mopped up two spot fires from yesterday and continued building containment lines around Roundtree Saddle. Once Roundtree Saddle is secure, crews will begin tactical firing east toward Chowchilla Mountain and Wawona Campground.
Securing the southeast quadrant of the fire is a priority in keeping the fire from spreading into Yosemite National Park and the populated areas south of the park. These efforts will ensure Ponderosa Basin and surrounding areas are secure as well.
North of the Merced River on the Stanislaus National Forest, crews successfully burned south from Merced Grove to provide further protection for the park’s iconic stand of giant sequoias. Firefighters will burn off of the road on Pilot Ridge along the Mariposa-Tuolumne County line today, weather permitting. Containment lines around Anderson Valley were widen in anticipation of the burns.
The main body of the fire is still more than a mile away from the county line and four miles from Highway 120, and while an attempt was made to take a more direct approach at containing the fire on the north end at Soapstone Ridge, fuels and topography did not allow crews to do so safely.
Firefighters have done extensive prep work in the area and plan to utilize several features to ensure the fire remains south of the county line which runs along Pilot Ridge. Dozer line has been constructed and the burn scar from the 2013 Rim Fire will aid in the firing.
Firefighters will only engage in firing operations when weather conditions are in their favor, and while this operation will put substantial smoke in the air, it also will help reduce the duration of the fire and long-term harmful impacts.
Residents and visitors can expect to see increased smoke during the next few days, especially on the north and east, as firing operations continue. Tactical firing is an effective way to reduce fuel loads while simultaneously widening or extending containment lines, particularly by decreasing available fuels and weakening the fire as it approaches containment lines.
During all tactical firing operations on the Ferguson Fire, firefighters and law enforcement maintain a presence in evacuated communities to ensure home and structure safety.
Air quality is likely to decrease as a result of increased smoke from the firing operations. Residents can monitor the latest air quality and health advisories at:
We will update with details of the activity on the fireline after this evening’s briefing.
Officials estimate 5,236 structures are threatened by the fire, and one non-residential structure has been destroyed.
There is now an estimated date for full containment of Aug. 15.
There are currently 3,766 personnel assigned to the incident including 244 engines, 92 crews, 47 water tenders, 77 dozers, 14 helicopters, and fixed-wing tankers as conditions allow.
There have been seven firefighter injuries reported, and numerous instances of heat exhaustion-type symptoms. 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 Hot Shot, lost his life yesterday when he was struck by a tree during a firing operation.
Yosemite National Park
Officials have announced that Yosemite Valley will reopen to all visitors at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3. Limited visitor services will be available inside Yosemite Valley, including campgrounds, lodging, and food service operations.
Yosemite Valley has been temporarily closed since July 25 due to smoke impacts and for firefighting operations along El Portal Road and the Wawona Road due to the Ferguson Fire.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and the Wawona Road (Highway 41) from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park to Tunnel View will remain closed until further notice.
The Hetch Hetchy area remains open. The Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120 West) to Crane Flat and Tioga Road (Highway 120 East) from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass, remain open to all visitors and vehicles. All trails and campgrounds along Tioga Road, including the Tuolumne Meadows Campground remain open. All visitor services along Tioga Road, including the High Sierra Camps and visitor services near Tuolumne Meadows, remain open.
Since the Ferguson Fire began on Friday, July 13, several other park facilities and roads have been closed due to fire impacts and the need to support firefighting operations. These closures include Glacier Point Road, Bridalveil Creek Campground, the Wawona Campground, and the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias.
Yosemite National Park continues to work closely with the Incident Management Team and continues to assess park conditions daily.
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.
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. There is also a base camp set up at the ski area at Badger Pass.
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. For information about the fire please call 530-377-6221.
The Ferguson Fire started on Friday, July 13, at 8:30 p.m. The cause remains under investigation.
Make sure you are signed up to receive alerts when wildfire or other emergencies threaten.
- To sign up for the Mariposa Sheriff’s Office Emergency Alert System visit https://local.nixle.com/register.
- To register for the Madera County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Alert System visit mcalert.org.
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.
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
- 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
Advisories have been issued for the following locations:
- Triangle Road from East Westfall to Highway 49 South and all side roads
- Monte Vista
- Vista Lago
This area is 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.
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 Fall Road in Yosemite Valley were closed beginning at noon on July 25.
Also closed are:
- Chowchilla Mountain Road at Highway 49 south
- Harris Road at Highway 49 south
- All roads inside Ponderosa Basin Subdivision
- River Road from Briceburg to the gate at Railroad Flat and all campgrounds
- Anderson Valley Road
- Old Yosemite Road
- Summit Road
- East Westfall Road and all side roads
General information on returning to previously evacuated areas:
Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office will have a heavy presence in the area to ensure the security and safety of residents and businesses.
There will still be smoke in the respective areas as firefighters continue firefighting operations. If at any time you feel unsafe, please call 911.
For questions or concerns regarding power, please contact PG&E at 800-743-5000 or visit their website at www.pge.com.
Mariposa County Public Works will be at Lushmeadows Store today from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. providing FREE residential spoiled food waste disposal.
The Mariposa County Health Department has health and safety information for residents returning to their homes on their website at http://www.mariposacounty.org/health or call 209-966-3689.
Mariposa County Health and Human Services will be available to assist residents with gaining additional services. Additional information regarding these and other services is available at www.mariposacountyrecovers.org.
SAFETY MESSAGE – The public is reminded to stay vigilant on current fire conditions. Please continue to adhere to road closures and any evacuation warnings. If you see electrical wires on the ground, stay clear and contact PG&E immediately. Trees and poles with deep charring, particularly if still smoking, should be considered hazardous. Please drive slowly and yield to emergency personnel in the area. As you re-enter your property and evaluate damage, be aware that hazardous conditions may exist, particularly if a residence or out-building has burned. Hazards may include asbestos, heavy metals, by-products of plastic combustion and various other chemicals. We encourage the public to remain prepared year-round for wildfires by visiting the www.readyforwildfire.org website. The best show of support is having your home and property “fire-ready.”
Cooperating Agencies on the Ferguson Fire include:
- Bureau of Land Management
- California Conservation Corps
- California Department of Corrections
- California Highway Patrol
- California Office of Emergency Services
- Central Califonia Animal Area Disaster Team
- Madera County Sheriff
- Mariposa County Public Works
- Mariposa Public Works
- National Weather Service
- North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indian of California
- Pacific Gas and Electric
- Red Cross
- Sierra Tel
- Tuolumne County Sheriff