YOSEMITE – Thunderstorms came through the park on July 19 through 22. There are now 12 confirmed lightning-caused fires.
Lightning caused fires can take days or weeks to detect because vegetation has to dry out enough to create smoke or visible flames after the storm passes over. Additional fires may be discovered, as temperatures rise and fuels dry out.
Most of these fires are small; single tree strikes that amount to less than a tenth of an acre. They are in the wilderness and are being monitored by either fire crews hiking into the fire areas, or via air reconnaissance due to location, sparse fuels and low growth potential. Yosemite and Point Reyes fire crews are monitoring all fires.
Park-wide rainfall totals at Remote Automatic Weather Station (RAWS) since July 20: Wawona 1.91”; Crane Flat 0.78” and El Portal 1.5” and White Wolf 0.97”. The recent rain has dropped park-wide severity to 20-year seasonal lows. However, warming weather over the next 10 days should bring the park back into the normal range for our 6-week “peak” season (Aug. 1 – Sept. 15).
RAWS are stations that monitor the weather and provide weather data that assists land management agencies with a variety of projects such as monitoring air quality, rating fire danger, and providing information for research applications.
Fork (37 46.242 x 119 25.198 – Mariposa Co., 8300’ el., 7/18). This is a lightning caused fire, and was reported by a hiker. It is a single tree, located on the east side of Cathedral Creek and north of the junction with Echo Creek.
Creek (37 49.604 x 119 35.131 – Mariposa Co., 8000’ el., 7/22). This recent fire is near Yosemite Creek and the Tioga Road. It is a single tree strike and has low to moderate potential for growth.
Polly (37 52.839 x 119 27.110 – Mariposa Co., 8400’ el., 7/20). The fire is a single tree near Polly Dome and within Tuolumne Meadows, and has low potential for growth.
Indian Canyon (37 47.532 x 119 35.148 – Mariposa Co. at 7200’ el., 7/ 3). This fire is between the Tioga Rd and the Yosemite Valley. It is 3.8 acres in size, and is smoldering and creeping with occasional single tree torching. Smoke has been visible from multiple locations within Yosemite. It is an area of few recent fires.
Blue Jay (37 47.204 x 119 39.183 – Mariposa Co., 8500’ el., 7/7). There is no smoke showing from this fire.
Dark (37 50.575 x 119 37.153 – Mariposa Co., 8200’ el., 7/9). This lightning caused fire is along the Yosemite Creek Campground Road and is periodically visible from the road. Two red fir trees were struck and the surface fuels were ignited. It is at 0.1 acre.
Morrison (37 54.0 x 119 38.8 – Tuolumne Co., 8100’ el., 7/9). This fire is east of White Wolf and in an area of many past lightning fires. It is 0.1 acre, with low potential for growth.
Horse (37 37.3 x 119 34.1 – Mariposa Co., 8500’ el., 7/9). This high elevation fire is one single tree struck and smoking and is east of Ostrander Lake. It is 0.1 acre, is surrounded by granite and has low potential for growth.
Clark (37 41.0 x 119 29.6 – Mariposa Co., 7500’ el., 7/9). This is west of Clark Peak. A single tree was seen smoking and it is at 0.1 acre, with low growth potential.
McGurk (37 40.969 x 119 37.232 – Mariposa Co. at 7800’ el., 7/2). This fire is within the McGurk Meadow, near a trail to Dewey Point from Glacier Point Road. It is at 0.2 acre and has low potential for spread.
Porcupine Flat (37 48.962 x 119 34.416 – Mariposa Co., at 8000’ el., 7/3). The top of a single green red fir tree was struck by lightning. There is no ground fire, but smoke may be seen from the Tioga Road. It has low potential for growth.
White Cascade (37 54.926 x 119 23.780 – Tuolumne Co, at 9000’ el., 7/3). This is a remote fire near Glen Aulin High Sierra camp and west of Tuolumne Meadows and is at 0.25 acre. It poses no threat to trails and has a low spread potential. Smoke may be visible from trails in the area.
As with all fires, staff and visitor safety is of paramount importance. Each fire, regardless of size, is assessed for the appropriate course of action. At this time there are no road or trail closures and the park remains open. Smoke is staying local over the fires and has not been observed traveling to any smoke sensitive areas.
All visitors are urged to use established campgrounds for fires. With all campfires, when departing, please be sure fires are completely out.
For More Information
• Fire information: firstname.lastname@example.org, (209) 372-0480
• Yosemite Web: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/fireinfo.htm.
• Air Quality – http://www.californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com and http://viewer.smoke.airfire.org/run/standard/CANSAC-2km/2015062200/
• Yosemite Wildland Fire Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yosemite-Fire-and-Aviation/124632964255395
• Twitter: @yosemitefire
• Nixle – Emergency Alerts and Updates– www.nixle.com
Report prepared by Gary Wuchner, Fire Information and Education Specialist at Yosemite National Park.