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Good Progress Overnight On Ferguson Fire, Now 86 Percent Contained

YOSEMITE – Firefighters continue their efforts to contain the last remaining active fire, burning near the entrance to Yosemite Valley between Highways 41 and 140.

The Ferguson Fire is now estimated at 96,457 acres and is 86 percent contained

The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Wawona reopen today at 9 a.m. (see details below). Yosemite Valley is scheduled to reopen to the public tomorrow, Aug. 14, at 9 a.m.

Crews have made good progress on firing operations along Highway 41 between Glacier Point Road and Elephant Rock, and the fire continues to back slowly down to the Merced River. There are still unburned pockets of vegetation within the containment lines, but the risk of spot fires has been reduced significantly.

The fireline has now been secured between Yosemite West and Glacier Point Road (Chinquapin Junction). This increase in containment near the Yosemite Ski and Snow Board Area (Badger Pass) has allowed the spike camp that was evacuated when the fire crossed Highway 41 on Aug. 3, to be reestablished at the ski area to reduce drive time to this portion of the fire. All other personnel remain at the Incident Command Post in Ahwahnee.

The remainder of the fire is in mop-up and patrol status, lines have been secured, and suppression repair efforts are ongoing.

As containment on the fire grows, the number of personnel assigned to the incident continues to drop and is now at 1,020.

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.

The Ferguson Fire is now the largest fire in the history of the Sierra National Forest. The estimated date for full containment is Wednesday, Aug. 15.

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 Valley will reopen to visitors on Tuesday, 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 reopens to the public today 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 will begin at 9 a.m. and take visitors to the newly-restored Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The Mariposa Grove reopened to visitors on June 14, after a 3-year restoration project conducted in partnership with Yosemite Conservancy.

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. The Wapama Falls trail will remain closed. These limits are in effect due to air quality concerns.

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.

The Incident Command Post for the Ferguson Fire is located at the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park. California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, led by Incident Commander Mark von Tillow, assumed management of the Ferguson Fire at 6 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 3.

For information about the fire please call 530-377-6221.

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

  • Yosemite Valley – open to residents only. The valley is scheduled to reopen to the public tomorrow, Aug. 14 at 9 a.m.

Road Closures

  • Highway 140 is closed from the park gate east. It is scheduled to reopen to the public on Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 9 a.m.
  • Highway 41 reopens today at 9 a.m. for access to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Wawona. It is open to residents only from Wawona to Yosemite West. There is a hard closure from Yosemite West to the Tunnel View. No estimated date to reopen has been given.
  • Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) is closed east of Crane Flat, with no access to Yosemite Valley until August 14.

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