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Base Camp on the Railroad Fire - photo by Gina Clugston

Railroad Fire Still Active Near Cedar Valley And Calvin Crest

OAKHURST — Once again the mountain area was greeted with a dense blanket of smoke as the sun rose over the Railroad Fire, burning north of Oakhurst.

The fire is now estimated at 10,734 acres with 23 percent containment.

There are currently 835 personnel assigned to the incident including 89 engines, 13 hand crews and 12 dozers.

Air Operations reported they got two more helicopters yesterday, for a total of one Type 1 and six Type 2s. Air Attack will be over the fire as soon as visibility allows, hopefully by about 8:30 a.m.

Several attempts to get retardant onto the fire yesterday were thwarted by dense smoke. Today, there are two VLATS and four heavies on order.

On the firelines, crews had a good night of work south of Sugar Pine as the fire continued to back down into Lewis Creek. They did conduct firing operations, but they were not aggressive, just “brought it down nice and easy to the creek.” The fire is staying on the east side of the creek, and is reported to be cooling down.

The fire came down onto the northeast corner of Cedar Valley overnight, but slowed as it moved closer to the structures. About 3:30 in the morning, no embers were showing, and the inversion socked things in. The heat of the day will show crews where the problems are. There is major dozer line on the north and east of Cedar Valley.

In the Calvin Crest area, crews conducted firing operations out to the dozer line, and the fire has checked up there. The dozer line is completed, and the line is tied in to the creek. Planners are looking at running the dozer line out to Highway 41 today. Crews continue to protect the structures and monitor the fire activity around the camp.

There was no new activity reported along the west flank, up to Fish Camp, across to the Tenaya, and along Jackson Road. Residents of that area were allowed to return home last night at 9 p.m., through the south entrance of Yosemite. The highway and the area are still closed to the public.

On the spot fire that started overnight on Sunday, it continues to challenge firefighters. A strike team and two dozers worked throughout the night, and were successful in keeping it from crossing the 6S17 road. The goal is for the day shift to get about 3,000 ft. of hose lay along the dozer line.

There are no boots on the ground on the far east perimeter of the fire. All resources are being focused in the areas of highest priority. More engines and crews are expected to arrive today, and allow fire officials to get those eastern divisions staffed.

Mostly sunny skies are expected today with cumulus buildup this afternoon, and the potential for thunderstorms. Temperatures will be in the lower to mid 80s, with much higher humidity ranging from 30 to 35 percent midday.

There is still no estimate to reopen Highway 41 or lift the evacuations. PG&E, Caltrans and dozens of contractors are still working to remove any hazards to the public, restore power and infrastructure, and repair damage.

There have been 14 structures reported lost.

One firefighter was transported for treatment last night after burn injuries. There have been two firefighter injuries reported.

Closures and evacuations on the Railroad Fire (in addition to Sky Ranch):

The community of Fish Camp was repopulated last night. Highway 41 and the area is still closed to the public. Residents must enter from inside Yosemite National Park, and show identification.

A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the Cedar Valley Subdivision, including the following roads:

  • Cedar Valley Drive
  • Deer Run Trail
  • Lazy Oak Drive
  • Cedar Brook Road
  • Cedar Springs Road
  • Mountain Meadow Road
  • Chu Ranch Road
  • Tolladay Road
  • Jackson Road
  • Cedar Ridge Circle North and South
  • ManzanitA Drive
  • Three Springs Road
  • Lakeside Drive
  • Cedar Place

Highway 41 remains closed in both directions from Cedar Valley on the south (about three miles north of Oakhurst), to Wawona inside Yosemite National Park. Yosemite visitors should use Highway 49 to Highway 140 or 120 for entrance to the National Park.

Jackson Road (6S07) is closed from Fish Camp to Beasore Road.

The mandatory evacuation for the the community of Fish Camp and the Tenaya Lodge has been lifted. The Narrow Gauge Inn, the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, the community of Sugar Pine including the Christian Camp, Cedar Valley, Sky Ranch, Big Sandy and Summerdale campgrounds, Nelder Grove, Camp Redwood, Paradise Springs, Calvin Crest, ECCO Conference Center, and Soquel and Texas Flat campgrounds remain under an evacuation order.

Road 620 (Bissett Station) has been given an evacuation advisory due to the spot fire just north toward Miami Motorcycle Trails.

Forest Road Closures

  • Road 632 (Sky Ranch)
  • Forest Road 5S10 at 5S39
  • Forest Road 6S13 at Road 274
  • Forest Road 6S08 at 6S36
  • Forest Road 6S10 at 6S39
  • Forest Road 6S99 at Beasore Road
  • Forest Road 6S40 at Beasore Road
  • Forest Road 6S40X at Beasore Road
  • Forest Road 5S40Y at Beasore Road
  • Worman Road one mile in from Highway 49 (at Road 601).

There are three Red Cross Evacuation Centers now open for wildfire evacuees:

Also, the Central California Animal Disaster Team (CCADT) has re-activated a small animal shelter at the Oakhurst Community Center Pavilion Building. Large animals can be sheltered at the Coarsegold Rodeo Grounds, at 44777 Rodeo Grounds Lane in Coarsegold. The phone number is 559-676-7864.

For animal evacuations, people will need to call the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at (559) 675-7770 to request help. CCADT will be working with Madera County Animal Control to help with evacs if needed

The hot line number for the Red Cross is 559-343-2549.

All roads past Wawona inside Yosemite are open, except Glacier Point Road, which was closed last Sunday due to increased fire activity on the Empire Fire.

For fire updates, residents and visitors can message RAILROADFIRE (one word) to 888777.

A fire information line has been established for the Railroad Fire at 559-373-0040.

The Railroad Fire was reported at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, just south of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad on the west side of Highway 41. It is burning on the Bass Lake Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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