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Yosemite Fire Update Sept. 12

YOSEMITE – There are currently four fires burning in Yosemite National Park.

The Tenaya Fire (37 46.091 x 119 34.641 – Mariposa Co., 7200′ elevation, date reported 9/7). This wildfire began on the afternoon Monday, of Sept. 7, and is being suppressed. The fire is located along the Lehamite Creek Trail from the north rim of the Valley to the Tioga Road, and is estimated at 455 acres with 25 percent containment.

The Incident Commander noted that firefighters continued to make progress on holding the perimeter line and putting out spot fires. Minimal fire spread is expected and line construction continues on the west flank.

Crews have begun direct line construction across the head of the fire. The fire continues to flank across slopes, creep through surface fuels and the understory of trees. Single tree torching was also noted.

Existing spot fires were mitigated and no new ones have been found. The firefighter efforts at the heel or anchor point continue to hold as they make good progress along both flanks of the fire. Firefighter actions were able to reduce the need for air tanker operations.

Although fire retardant has been employed in the suppression of the Tenaya Fire, firefighters are adhering to Minimum Impact Suppression Techniques (MIST). They are looking for opportunities to tie fireline into granite rock, trails, and other natural barriers with the least impacts to the environment, cultural and historical features.

Snags (standing dead trees) which are safety hazards to firefighters, are being preserved when possible. Yosemite Resource Advisors are assigned to the fire to assist firefighters.

The current firefighting resources assigned to the Tenaya Fire have been deemed adequate for accomplishing the objectives of the fire, say officials. Fire managers anticipate significant resource demobilization within the next few days.

Assisting organizations and cooperators include the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and other National Park Service resources. There are currently 270 personnel committed to the fire.

Risks include firefighter and visitor safety, and to the Tioga Road. A closure of the road would negatively affect the local communities that rely on park visitation, including the communities of Lee Vining, Mammoth Lakes, Groveland and Mariposa.

There has been one minor injury, and no threat to structures. There is no estimated full containment and the cause is being investigated.

A Safety Closure, issued by the park superintendent, is in place. It will remain in place until rescinded. All trails on the north rim of Yosemite Valley south of the Tioga Road and east of Yosemite Creek are closed. Trail blocks are in place, and officials ask the public to please adhere to their warnings of exclusion.

Currently no roads are closed within the park.

Other fires being monitored:

Cathedral (37 51.078 x 119 25.120 – Tuolumne Co., 9400′ elevation, date reported 8/2). This is near the John Muir Trail to Cathedral Lakes. The perimeter is actively smoldering and creeping through lodgepole pine needles and logs and has good potential to grow until it hits natural barriers. The fire is 37 acres.

Middle (37 51.538 x 119 41.194 – Tuolumne Co., 8043′ elevation, date reported 7/27). It is west of White Wolf and south of the Middle Tuolumne River. It is at 71 acres. Yosemite Fire Crew 1 and Saguaro Wildland Fire Module are assigned to this fire.

White Cascade (37 54.926 x 119 23.780 – Tuolumne Co, at 9000′ elevation, date reported 7/3). This remote fire is within Tuolumne Meadows and is approximately 30 acres.

All visitors are urged to be diligent in any use of fire, including smoking. And be sure all fires are out! As with all fires, staff and visitor safety is of paramount importance, say park officials. Each fire, regardless of size, is assessed for the appropriate course of action.

Yosemite, as with other mountain areas, continues to experience air quality impacts due to regional fires. Mariposa County Health Department/Air Pollution Control District has issued an Air Quality Alert. This alert extends throughout the entire Central Valley of California. Smoke levels are in the Unhealthy Range. The County suggests remaining indoors or minimizing outdoor activities as much as possible. This condition is expected to continue through the next several days.

For other air quality information: http://www.californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/ or http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.main

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