Local

Ferguson Fire expands to 30,493 acres. Time until full containment still unknown

The Ferguson fire continues to burn on the north side of Highway 140 and the Merced River in Mariposa County, Calif., Saturday, July 21, 2018. The fire was steadily growing Saturday after two more firefighters were injured while battling the flames in blazing summer heat to protect mountain communities in the Sierra Nevada. The Ferguson fire was churning northward within Sierra National Forest, sending up smoke that obscured valley views in the park. Yosemite remained open, but one of its scenic routes, Glacier Point Road, was closed to stage firefighters. (Andrew Kuhn/The Merced Sun-Star via AP)
The Ferguson fire continues to burn on the north side of Highway 140 and the Merced River in Mariposa County, Calif., Saturday, July 21, 2018. The fire was steadily growing Saturday after two more firefighters were injured while battling the flames in blazing summer heat to protect mountain communities in the Sierra Nevada. The Ferguson fire was churning northward within Sierra National Forest, sending up smoke that obscured valley views in the park. Yosemite remained open, but one of its scenic routes, Glacier Point Road, was closed to stage firefighters. (Andrew Kuhn/The Merced Sun-Star via AP) AP

The Ferguson Fire in Mariposa County expanded to 30,493 acres on Sunday, having increased 1,448 acres Saturday evening, according to the wildfire’s incident commanders.

Containment remains at 6 percent with 216 structures threatened, according to a news release from the unified agencies fighting the blaze, which includes Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service and Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department.

Thus far, four firefighters have been injured fighting the blaze, and Cal Fire firefighter Braden Varney of Mariposa was killed after his tractor overturned. His body was found July 14, and his celebration of life services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Monday at The House Modesto, 1601 Coffee Road in Modesto.

With the quick spread of the fire, several mandatory evacuations remain in place for the surrounding areas, including Yosemite West. The fire was reported to be burning at 29,045 acres Saturday night.

On Sunday just before 4 p.m. a mandatory evacuation was issued for Old Yosemite Road.

Other areas under evacuation order: Old El Portal, Rancheria Flat government housing, Foresta, Yosemite View Lodge, El Portal Trailer Court, Jerseydale, Mariposa Pines, Cedar Lodge/Indian Flat Campground, Savage’s Trading Post, Sweetwater Ridge and Incline Road from Clearing House to the Foresta Bridge. Many more areas are under evacuation notice.

An evacuation center is set up at New Life Christian Fellowship, 5089 Cole Road in Mariposa.

The fire started late July 13 near El Portal in the Merced River canyon.

Firefighters on Saturday tried to directly attack the portion of the fire on the Stanislaus National Forest, but terrain and fire behavior forced them to back off as conditions grew too dangerous to safely engage, according to the news release.

Crews have scouted and planned to use the road system around the Soapstone Ridge/Ned Gulch as their holding line. Crews also worked to install hose lays throughout the northwest and west containment lines to provide direct and indirect protection to El Portal and Yosemite West.

Burnout operations within the Sweetwater Creek area have been successful and continue to progress, according to firefighters.

On Friday the fire jumped over the river. About 2,000 acres of the fire’s footprint are north of the river.

The expected containment date and cause of the fire remains unknown.

A total of 2,903 personnel are battling the fire.

Jessica Johnson: 559-441-6051, @iamjesslj

  Comments