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Engines at Railroad Fire ICP in Ahwahnee- photo by Gina Clugston

Railroad Fire Nears Full Containment, More Crews Released

OAKHURST — The Railroad Fire continues to hold at 12,407 acres and is now 98 percent contained.

Activity is winding down at the Incident Command Post at the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park, and there will be a lot of work done to return the park to its pre-fire condition once the fire camp has been fully dismantled.

Demobilization continues as crews are released to return to their home units or be made available for other fires in the region. There are currently 463 personnel assigned to the incident.

Management of the fire transitioned back to a local Sierra National Forest Type 3 management team as of 7 a.m. this morning.

Fire activity has been minimal over the past few days, but people may still see some smoke here and there as interior islands of fuel continue to smolder.

The few short stretches of uncontained fireline remain around Big Sandy and Little Sandy campgrounds, and crews continue strengthening those lines and hitting any hot spots near the perimeter. (See map below).

The spot fire north of Road 620 (Bissett Station) is 100 percent contained at an adjusted estimate of 693 acres.

There is no night shift out on the firelines. Cool temperatures and good overnight humidity recovery will continue into the weekend.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team personnel have begun arriving at the incident. The BAER teams are staffed by specially trained professionals including hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, biologists, vegetation specialists, archeologists, and others who rapidly evaluate the burned area and prescribe emergency stabilization treatments.

Fire crews also continue with fireline suppression repair, repairing or improving land damaged during fire suppression and line construction activity.

Of current total area burned, 11,464 acres were on the Sierra National Forest, and 943 acres were private land.

The Sierra National Forest has issued a Forest Closure Order for the area impacted by the Railroad Fire.

“Closure of the fire area is necessary to help ensure that no one is injured within or near the active fire perimeter,” said Forest Officials in a statement released yesterday. “All National Forest System roads and trails, within the active fire perimeter will be closed due to fire suppression and rehab activities that create a hazard to the public which includes the falling of hazard trees that were weakened by the fire and the construction and maintenance of fuel breaks.”

This closure will remain in effect until the fire is declared out. (Click map to enlarge).

There have been 17 structures lost to the Railroad Fire, and 6 injuries to firefighters.

All Red Cross and Central California Animal Disaster Team shelters have been closed. All evacuations have been lifted.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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