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Burning operations on South Fork Fire - photo NPS

Growth Of South Fork Fire Slows, Evacuations Lifted

YOSEMITE — With the success of the burning operations on the west flank of the South Fork Fire, residents are being allowed to return to their homes this morning in the community of Wawona.

Residents, homeowners and employees will be required to provide identification before being allowed to enter. The area will remain closed to the public until Thursday, Aug. 24 at 7 a.m.

The area east of Chilnualna Creek remains closed. Visitors and residents east of the creek will be able to return tomorrow. There is no immediate or predicted threat to the Wawona Community.

The fire is now estimated at 4,012 acres with 22 percent containment. There are 581 personnel assigned to the incident including 14 hand crews, 5 helicopters and 15 engines.

As has been the case since the start of this fire, dense smoke continues to limit air operations, grounding aircraft until mid-day.

Burning operations above Wawona were completed yesterday. Last night’s infrared flight shows significant reduction in heat in the western half of the fire. Firefighters continue to build direct line on the southeast portion of the fire to check the eastern spread and monitor the fireline north of the river.

Crews will continue to mop up (extinguish hot spots on the fire’s edge) and monitor the perimeter of the fire. Aircraft will assist in securing the line as needed.

Strengthening of contingency lines around the community of Wawona have been completed. Line construction and holding operations are proceeding well on the west flank of the fire. Spot fires near the South Fork of the Merced River have been lined and suppression activity should be near completion.

A chance of thunderstorms continues through today. Storms are predicted to decrease for the rest of the week as temperatures are expected to rise and humidity decreases.

Seasonable temperatures are forecasted through Friday with a warming trend beginning this weekend into early next week. Thunderstorms will be possible over the Sierra Nevada generally from Sequoia National Park northward each afternoon and early evening through Thursday.

There is a live information phone number and email for the South Fork Fire. The phone will be answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 209-379-5322, or email SouthForkFireinfo@gmail.com.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The estimated date of containment is Sunday, Sept. 3.

The following areas are closed until further notice:

  • The Swinging Bridge Trail on both the north and south sides of the South Fork of the Merced River.
  • The Chilnualna Falls Trail from Wawona Trailhead to the top of Chilnualna Falls.
  • The two mile connecting trail heading north from the top of Chilnualna Falls to the intersection of the Buena Vista Trail.
  • The Chilnualna Creek Trail from the top of Chilnualna Falls east to the intersection of the Buena Vista and Buck Camp trails (Just east of Johnson Lake).
  • Off-trail areas in the vicinity are closed (i.e. all areas within the shaded circle on the map below).
  • All climbing routes on and around Wawona Dome are closed.
  • Bridalveil Creek Campground closed on Wednesday morning.
  • Wawona trail (mule) rides are not operating.
  • Big Trees Golf Course is closed.
  • The Badger Pass-Glacier Point shuttle will not operate until further notice as the incident command post is occupying the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area facility and parking lot.
  • The Glacier Point Road will will remain open to the public however it will close periodically between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day when parking at Glacier Point fills to capacity (and will reopen when sufficient space is available). Traffic delays should be expected.
  • A voluntary ban on wood fires is in place in Yosemite Valley to reduce smoke. A mandatory ban may be instituted in the days to come.

For additional information:

Air quality links for Yosemite National Park:

Click here for a detailed IAP map.

Click here for a heat map.

Click here for interactive map.


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