TUOLUMNE COUNTY – Families who have been camping at the Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp for years gathered yesterday to mourn the loss of the camp, which was consumed by the Rim Fire on Sunday.
The fire has now grown to 179,481 acres with 20% containment, and U.S. Forest Service officials confirmed yesterday that most structures at the camp have been destroyed.
The Rim Fire has also forced the cancellation of the 2013 Film Fest Twain Harte and the Strawberry Music Festival, an annual bluegrass celebration at Camp Mather that attracts thousands of music lovers to the Sierra each Labor Day Weekend.
The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors voted last week to close down the event because of the fire.
With over 20,000 acres burning inside the Park boundary, several locations on the west side of Yosemite National Park have had closures implemented, with mandatory evacuations put in place south of Highway 120 and north of Old Yosemite Road.
The majority of fire activity in Yosemite remains near Lake Eleanor and the Hetch Hetchy area. The fire is roughly 1/2 mile from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, one mile from the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station, and two miles from the Hodgdon Meadow area. (click map to enlarge)
The Crane Flat Campground is currently being vacated to support fire management and fire operations. This transition will be complete at 5 p.m. this evening. The Crane Flat store and gas station remain open.
The White Wolf Lodge and White Wolf Campground were closed to the public on Sunday due to smoke impacts in the area.
Highway 120, west of the Crane Flat Campground, the Hetch Hetchy Road, and the Hodgdon Meadow area remain closed. Visitors can still travel through the park along the Tioga Road corridor.
The Merced Grove and Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias remain closed. The Park has closed a portion of the wilderness to backcountry travel. The area west of the May Lake Road and May Lake Trail continuing to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at Glen Aulin and then north along the PCT to Bond Pass is closed.
Firefighters worked overnight on yesterday’s spot fires and continued with line construction throughout the fire. Crews were successful in getting a dozer line around spot fires at Duckwall Mountain, successfully burning out the adjacent area to Yosemite National Park south of Highway 120 to slow the spread of the fire.
Good progress was also made constructing and securing lines along the southwestern edge of the fire.
Today, fire crews will continue working the spot fires and structure defense on both sides of Highway 120 from Pilot Ridge to Yosemite National Park, and continue with contingency line construction to protect the communities in the Highway 108 corridor.
An evacuation advisory has been extended on the Highway 108 corridor from Tuolumne City to Pinecrest. A Forest Closure remains in effect for locations near and in advance of the fire.
Access and difficult terrain remain concerns for crews and equipment. There are currently 3,752 personnel assigned to the fire, including local MMU Cal Fire engines 4295, 4284, 4254 and 4264, plus 26 staff personnel, 3 dozers and 4 hand crews.