Fire officials reported slow growth yesterday (Sept. 6) as crews fighting the Railroad Fire worked to extinguish hot spots along the fire’s perimeter on the west and north flanks, holding on the north side at Rainier Creek.
Overnight, the fire grew by less than 100 acres, now having burned 11,603 acres, at 43% containment. With the cooler temperatures and increased humidity, there has been limited spotting and the fire remains within established control lines.
A public meeting to provide fire updates and answer questions will be held 7 p.m., Sept. 7, at the Mountain Christian Center in Oakhurst.
A chance of wet or dry thunderstorms with lightning and strong outflow winds is still a possibility today within the fire area. However, it looks to be a warm and dry weekend ahead. Burning operations defending the communities of Sugar Pine and Cedar Valley continue successfully, and bulldozers were busy creating a fire break on the northeast side of the fire around Big Sandy and above Speckerman Mountain.
Highway 41 remains closed in both directions from south of Wawona to Sky Ranch Road. Yosemite visitors should use Highway 49. The Summerdale, Big Sandy, and Nelder Grove Campgrounds on the Sierra National Forest are closed. Sky Ranch Road is closed, as are roads between Beasore Road and Sky Ranch Road.
Current evacuation orders include Tenaya Lodge Resort, Sugar Pine, Calvin Crest, Paradise Springs, Cedar Valley and Sky Ranch, with one evacuation advisory in place. Tree mortality continues to increase safety risk for personnel working this fire, and CalTrans has cut down about 250 hazardous tree along Highway 41, taking advantage of the highway closure.
Some residents in Fish Camp were allowed to return to their homes, but had to enter via Wawona. All other evacuations remain in place.
Resources assigned to the fire include 14 hand crews, 7 helicopters, 89 engines, 14 dozers. Air support remains a critical part of the firefighting effort and will support ground crews as conditions allow.
Over the past couple of days, Tenaya has assisted Cal Fire and emergency personnel (the U.S. Forest Service, out of county sheriffs) by providing lodging for those battling the Railroad, Mission and Peak fires. Also, since the start of the Railroad Fire, Tenaya has been supporting fire suppression efforts by supplying water resources to firefighers.
The Railroad Fire began more than a week ago, on Aug. 29, along Highway 41 between Sugar Pine and Fish Camp.
Because of the poor air quality, Yosemite High, Oakhurst Elementary, Oak Creek Intermediate, Alternative Schools North, and John Muir North are closed for the day.
The Mission Fire, which started Sunday, Sept. 3, two miles east of North Fork, was slowed Wednesday because of the higher humidity and lack of wind, growing by less than 10 acres to 1,035, and now at 25% containment. The number of structures damaged remains at four.
According to Cal Fire, the fire perimeter growth was minimal overnight, with tree mortality and dense fuel loads contributing to isolated ares of fire activity. Limited access, steep terrain and heavy fuels continue to challenge fire personnel.
The communities of Cascadel and North Fork, along with the Sierra National Forest, are still threatened and residents of approximately 250 homes continue to remain under mandatory evacuation orders. Benedict Meadow is under advisory.
Damage inspection teams have completed their assessments and PG&E is working on restoring power to affected areas.
Road closures remain in place for Douglas Station Road at Road 225, Rainbow Drive at Road 225 and Cascadel Drive at Road 225.
Resources include 146 engines, 18 dozers, 11 water tenders, 9 helicopters and 25 hand crews.
These stories will be updated.