California Rim fire: Some evacuation orders lifted

נשלח 30 באוג׳ 2013, 10:01 על ידי Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 31 באוג׳ 2013, 11:17 ]
By Tony Barboza, August 30, 2013

With firefighters continuing to gain ground on the Rim fire burning into Yosemite National Park, authorities have lifted evacuation orders for Tuolumne City, west of the fire line.

Evacuation orders for communities off California 108 on the north and California 120 to the south remain in effect, authorities said.

Cal Fire trucks move at dawn through Groveland

Cal Fire trucks move at dawn through Groveland, where a banner thanks firefighters for their efforts. (Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times / August 28, 2013)

Though the massive fire, now having burned 199,237 acres, was listed as 32% contained Friday morning, officials said their work is far from finished. The Rim fire became the fifth-largest in California history Thursday as a result of natural spread and back-fire operations by firefighters.

For the third day in a row, crews are hoping that winds will cooperate and allow them to spark a large controlled burn ahead of the fire’s path to the east, south of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir -- an important source of water for San Francisco.

While firefighters over the last week have set defensive anchors along the fire’s western flank to protect residents, the blaze has been allowed to burn almost unimpeded eastward, deeper into the park. Only smaller controlled burns have been possible to this point.

“The fire is not having erratic growth like it was before,” said Alison Hesterly, a Rim fire information officer. “And the forward spread of the fire is slowing, which is a good thing.”

In back-fire operations, crews use drip torches to light low-intensity fires beyond the fire’s perimeter. By eating up fuels in the fire’s path, they create a barrier to its expansion.

Authorities also spent Thursday building and improving containment lines, deploying bulldozers and hand crews. One strike team was on the lookout for flare-ups near Hetch Hetchy, while others worked to protect vulnerable structures.

More than 4,900 firefighters were battling the blaze as the cost to fight it ballooned to $47 million. The cause remains under investigation.

Officials expect the fire to be fully contained within two or three weeks, but said it will keep smoldering for some time and won’t be truly out until rain or snow arrives months later.





Source: latimes.com

Rim fire fifth-largest in state history; backfires underway

By Tony Barboza, August 29, 2013
Rim fire

Inmate firefighters walk alongCalifornia 120 as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press / August 25, 2013)

The Rim fire became the fifth-largest in California history Thursday as it grew to 199,237 acres -- 311 square miles -- as a result of both natural spread and backfire operations by firefighters.

The blaze expanded by 6,500 acres over the day to eclipse the 2007 Witch fire that burned 197,990 acres in San Diego County, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

Authorities attributed at least some of the massive fire's  growth to backfire operations by crews on the ground. 

Crews battling the fire on Thursday focused their efforts on lighting the fires south of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to prevent the blaze from spreading farther southeast into Yosemite National Park

 “The fire is not having erratic growth like it was before,” said Alison Hesterly, a Rim fire information officer. “And the forward spread of the fire is slowing, which is a good thing.”

In backfire operations, crews use drip torches to light low-intensity fires beyond the fire’s perimeter. By eating up fuels in the fire’s path, they create a barrier to its expansion.

Officials said crews would work overnight to continue burning operations as long as weather conditions allow.

Other firefighters spent the day building and improving containment lines with bulldozers and hand crews. One strike team of fire lookouts stood watch over Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy, watching for flare-ups near San Francisco’s water supply. Others worked to protect vulnerable structures.

More than 4,900 firefighters were battling the blaze. The cost to fight it has ballooned to $47 million. The cause remains under investigation.

Authorities on Thursday also lifted evacuation advisories for several communities, including Tuolumne City and Willow Springs.

Officials expect the fire to be fully contained within two or three weeks, but it will keep smoldering for some time and won’t be truly out until rain or snow arrives months later.

Source: latimes.com

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