A turbulent shift in the winds on the Railroad Fire in Fish Camp Wednesday afternoon pushed smoke in a southwest direction.
Daniel Tune, information officer with the U.S. Forest Service, said that despite the smoke, the fire was at least 3 to 4 miles from Ahwahnee. He said to burn a mile would be roughly equivalent to burning 640 acres, meaning the blaze would have to double or triple in size to get close to the community, which was extremely unlikely.
“What happens with smoke like this is a kind of optical illusion where it looks closer than it actually is, like it looks close to Oakhurst, but not really,” Tune said. “It’s still miles away.”
Tune said the flames hadn’t spread much further than a ranger station about a quarter mile south of the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, near where the fire originally started on Tuesday.
In an afternoon update, the fire was reported at 1,200 acres, and remained 5% contained, with 350 personnel, 26 fire engines, seven hand crews, two helicopters, and three air tankers assigned.
Per scanner reports, a strike team was regrouping at Cal Fire Station 12 in Oakhurst around 4 p.m.. Flames leaping as high as 100 feet were being reported in some areas during the day.
Minor damage was also reported, via scanners, to one of the historic railroad cars at Sugar Pine Railroad. That information has not been confirmed. The fire was also reportedly pushing back towards Fish Camp, with spot fires reported across Highway 41 to the east, from the blaze’s origins on the western side. Winds were reportedly shifting during the day.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
All of Fish Camp and Sugar Pine, including the railroad, Tenaya Lodge, and Narrow Gauge Inn, remained under mandatory evacuation Wednedsay evening. Highway 41 is closed in the Cedar Valley area, with no entry to Yosemite National Park from that direction.
According to ongoing scanner reports, the fire is burning mostly towards the east, from its origin point on the west side of Highway 41 near Mill Canyon Road in Fish Camp around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
For more information on the Railroad Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5553/.