Friday, July 31, 2009

Yosemite Fires – Update #25 – July 30, 2009

A new fire has been found in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River.

The Wildcat fire is burning on the north side of the river, between Pate Valley and Glen Aulin.
It is burning in Red Fir, Jeffery Pine and brush on very steep terrain.
Active fire behavior with rapid rates of spread, including short duration torching and crowning of fuels was observed by Yosemite fire mangers during a Helicopter 551 reconnaissance flight over the fire area.
One four person Yosemite fire crew was flown into the area last night and will hike to the fire zone to observe fire behavior and determine fire resource needs.
Other resources have been ordered. This fire is located in one of the most remote, steep and rugged wilderness areas of the Park. Due to the steepness of the canyon, the potential for rock and timber roll-out and other significant safety concerns, the primary strategy will be indirect action until the fire finds its way to more open and accessible terrain.
Trail closures are in affect: The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne from Glen Aulin to Pate Valley. Further trail closures are beig considered.
The immediate course of action and strategy will be to keep the fire on the north side of the Tuolumne River. Further actions will be determined by fire managers with additional reconnaissance and on the ground evaluation by fire crews.
All responses are being considered for this wilderness wildfire. Values to be protected include the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, the Tuolumne River, trail systems and bridges, wildlife habitat and other wilderness and cultural resources.

A smoke column was visible from this fire from many locations within the Park and the immediate region. Air quality could be diminished over the next few days due to strong up and down canyon winds moving smoke.

Yosemite fire crews are staffing all fires
Weather forecasters have predicted more thunderstorms and lightning pushing into the foothills tonight with but with less activity through the rest of the week. Cooler temperatures are also predicted and with more air movement by the weekend.

Wilderness Fire Unit; lightning caused fires:
Wildcat (37 56.208 x 119 29.418, 6300’ to 8400’ elevation, Tuolumne Co.) The 300 acre fire is burning in Jeffery Pine, Red Fir and brush. It is making runs to the north rim of the canyon. It has good potential for further growth.

Grouse (37 41.445 x 119 41.017; 6500’, Mariposa Co.). Started May 30. It is approximately 3,047 acres and 98 percent contained. Yosemite fire crews will continue to patrol this fire as some interior smoldering continues and periodic light smoke is visible.

Harden (37 53.624 x 119 42.221; 7800’, Tuolumne Co) Started June 8. It is north of White Wolf, west of Harden Lake. It is 1,661 acres, with 95 percent containment. Fire crews are in the mop stage with this fire.

Regional fires: Reporting this fire in cooperation with the Stanislaus National Forest.
Knight (38.18 x -120.254, Stanislaus NF, Tuolumne Co.) Today this fire is at 1,332 acres with more potential for growth. It is near the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River and approximately 27 miles northwest of the Yosemite Big Oak Flat gate (Hwy 120). It is producing a smoke column visible for many miles including Yosemite. To obtain more information: http://www.inciweb.org

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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