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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name:
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South Fork, Yosemite NP. Previously reported incident. One mile east of Wawona, CA. Timber and brush. Minimal fire behavior with single-tree torching, flanking and short-range spotting. Road, trail and area closures in effect.

September 11, 2017 at 8:48 AM

Direct suppression efforts and bucket work will continue for spot fires south of the South Fork of the Merced. Handcrews are utilizing handline and natural features to limit fire spread to the north and west.

Fire is actively backing and flanking on the eastern fired edge into the early evening and then will slow to creeping fire spread around 2200. Crews in Div-J are holding and utilizing Chilnualna Creek to check fire spread to North.

September 9, 2017 at 12:02 PM

Fire remains quiet near the community of Wawona. The most activity yesterday was on the east flank burning into the wilderness through scattered pockets of dense fuel and the south flank backing into the South Fork of the Merced. Very little change in temperatures and humidities through the weekend. Slight chance for afternoon / early evening showers and thunderstorms for the next several days. A slight warming trend will begin Sunday.

September 8, 2017 at 8:33 AM

Fire remains quiet near the community of Wawona. The most activity yesterday was on the east flank burning into the wilderness through scattered pockets of dense fuel and the south flank backing into the South Fork of the Merced. There was an increase in acreage due to more accurate mapping. Thunderstorms are predicted this afternoon with slightly cooler temperatures and higher relative humidities, producing gusty and erratic winds.

The northern spot fire remains south of handline at Turner meadow, crews brought fire down to Chilnualna Creek to secure the spot fire with the main fire. Patrols continue along portions of the fire closest to Wawona. There may be some burning well interior and visible smoke with increased winds due to the storms. Bucket work may be continued on the southern boundary of the fire. Both spot fires south of the South Fork of the Merced drainage were contained and secured with hose lays and handlines. Sections of the north flank and the entire east flank are continuing to burn in the wilderness, and will be monitored by aircraft due to steep and rugged terrain. As fire burns into the high country wilderness it will burn actively through pockets of dense vegetation but will then slow down as it progresses into sparse vegetation and natural granite barriers limiting smoke production. This high country wilderness area has minimal values at risk.

Smoke dispersion will improve today, with more direct southerly winds. These southerly winds will bring smoke from the Railroad Fire directly into Yosemite National Park. Air quality will remain poor close to the fire especially in valleys and drainages north of the fire. Fire Managers are working with the local Air Quality Districts and will be monitoring smoke impacts to the park and local communities. Community members who are sensitive to smoke may want to close their windows and doors, limit outdoor activity, and monitor the air quality forecast linked below for changes to the forecasted patterns.

The following trail and area closures are in place until further notice:

•The Swinging Bridge Trail on both the north and south sides of the South Fork of the Merced River.
•The Chilnualna Falls Trail from Wawona Trailhead to the top of Chilnualna Falls.
•The two mile connecting trail heading north from the top of Chilnualna Falls to the intersection of the Buena Vista Trail.
•The Chilnualna Creek Trail from the top of Chilnualna Falls east to the intersection of the Buena Vista and Buck Camp trails (Just east of Johnson Lake).
•Turner Meadow Trail
•Turner Meadow intersection east to Buena Vista trail
•Off-trail areas in the vicinity of the South Fork Fire Area, including the swimming holes north of Chilnualna Creek.
• All climbing routes on and around Wawona Dome are closed.

September 3, 2017 at 10:41 AM

The majority of the fire was quiet yesterday. Fire is holding on the flanks near the community of Wawona and remains quiet. The most activity yesterday was on the southeastern edge where fire continued to back and flank down to the South Fork of the Merced through scattered pockets of heavy fuel, there were a couple spots picked up on the southeast edge across the river. Thunderstorms are predicted this afternoon as well as high temperatures. Thunderstorms produce gusty and erratic winds.

Fire crews are utilizing natural features, handline, and small scale burning to contain fire spread to the north along Chilnualna Creek. Patrols continue along portions of the fire closest to Wawona. Bucket work will be continued on the southern boundary of the fire. Crews were inserted yesterday to secure active edges of spot fires with hose lays and hand line. This area is incredibly steep and rugged. Sections of the north flank and the entire east flank are continuing to burn in the wilderness, and will be monitored by aircraft. As fire burns into the high country wilderness it will burn actively through pockets of dense vegetation but will then slow down as it progresses into sparse vegetation and natural granite barriers limiting smoke production. This high country wilderness area has minimal values at risk.

Air quality will remain moderate to poor at times, especially closer to the fire and usually during the nighttime and morning hours. A high pressure system remains over the area, a tropical system has moved in bringing increased cloud cover which will limit smoke dispersion in the afternoon. Fire Managers are working with the local Air Quality Districts and will be monitoring smoke impacts to the park and local communities. Community members who are sensitive to smoke may want to close their windows and doors at night and monitor the air quality forecast linked below for changes to the forecasted patterns and best times to plan outdoor activities

August 28, 2017 at 8:12 AM

All evacuations have been lifted at this time. Trails within the fire area will remain closed until further notice. Wawona Campground has reopened.

Crews will continue to mop up (extinguish hot spots on the fire’s edge) and monitor the perimeter of the fire. Aircraft will assist in securing the line as needed. Repair and rehabilitation have begun within the Yosemite Wilderness.

Smoke and poor air quality continue to be an issue in the park. Temperatures are expected to become hotter and drier.

The Yosemite National Park Type 3 Incident Management Team has assumed command as of 06:00 today.

A strong upper level ridge of high pressure centered over the Great Basin will continue to bring well above normal temperatures and light, terrain-driven winds to the fire through Tuesday with little diurnal change in humidity. A southwesterly flow aloft will become established over the fire by this afternoon and remain westerly through midweek as a weak upper level trough passes by to our north. Although a few thunderstorms could pop up over the higher elevations of Yosemite Tuesday and Wednesday, they will remain well east of the fire.

August 27, 2017 at 10:52 AM

Yesterday the fire was flown on the north end, and was creeping and smoldering along the perimeter. The east flank of the fire was most active, in heavy fuels, but is being held and slowed by natural barriers and sparse vegetation. Crews on the south and west flanks will continue to mop up (extinguish hot spots on the fire’s edge). Aircraft will assist in securing the line as needed. Repair and rehabilitation have begun within the Yosemite Wilderness.

The fire has burned into the fire-adapted wilderness. Allowing fires to burn naturally can result in healthier, more diverse ecosystems. Reducing fuel buildup minimizes the potential for future severe fires.

The following trail and area closures are in place until further notice:

· The Swinging Bridge Trail on both the north and south sides of the South Fork of the Merced River.

· The Chilnualna Falls Trail from Wawona Trailhead to the top of Chilnualna Falls.

· The two mile connecting trail heading north from the top of Chilnualna Falls to the intersection of the Buena Vista Trail.

· The Chilnualna Creek Trail from the top of Chilnualna Falls east to the intersection of the Buena Vista and Buck Camp trails (Just east of Johnson Lake).

· Off-trail areas in the vicinity of the South Fork Fire Area, including the swimming holes north of Chilnualna Creek.

· All climbing routes on and around Wawona Dome are closed.

Smoke and poor air quality continue to be an issue in the park. A warmer and dryer weather system will persist through Tuesday. All roads within the park remain open to travel.

Fire Managers are working with the local Air Quality Districts and will be monitoring smoke impacts to the park and local communities. Community members who are sensitive to smoke may want to close their windows and doors and monitor the air quality links below.

For additional information:

·         Fire Information: Yose_Fire_Info@nps.gov, (209) 379-1493

·         Yosemite National Park Fire Information website: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/fireinfo.htm

August 25, 2017 at 7:23 AM

The mandatory evacuation of Wawona has been completely lifted. Residents, visitors and guests are allowed back in to all areas of the Wawona community. Trails within the fire area will remain closed until further notice.

Last night’s infrared flight shows significant reduction in heat in the western half of the fire. The fire is still active in the portion of the fire north of the river.

Crews will continue to mop up (extinguish hot spots on the fire’s edge) and monitor the perimeter of the fire. Aircraft will assist in securing the line as needed. Repair and rehabilitation have begun within the Yosemite Wilderness.

Smoke and poor air quality continue to be an issue in the park. Temperatures are predicted to be near normal and the threat of storms is greatly decreased for the rest of the week. All roads within the park remain open to travel.

This will be the last update prepared by the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team. The team will transition to a Type 3 organization on Friday at 6:00 am, who will continue to issue updates on the fire.

August 23, 2017 at 7:23 AM

There is no immediate or predicted threat to the Wawona Community. Therefore, the Evacuation Order for Wawona residents will be lifted beginning Wednesday 8/23 at 0700. Residents and employees living west of Chilnualna Creek may return at that time. Identification will be required for entry. Residents and employees living east of Chilnualna Creek will not be allowed re-entry for an additional 24 hours. The area remains closed to the public until Thursday, 8/24 at 0700.

Seasonable temperatures through Friday with a warming trend beginning this weekend into early next week. Thunderstorms will be possible over the Sierra Nevada generally from Sequoia National Park northward each afternoon and early evening through Thursday.

August 22, 2017 at 9:55 AM

Burning operations above Wawona were successful yesterday as crews brought the fire down the containment line to the South Fork of the Merced. Today crews will finish burning the lower area along the river and continue to mop up on the west side. Firefighters have been inserted into the southeast portion of the fire to check the eastern spread and monitor the fireline north of the river.

Mandatory evacuations will remain in place in Wawona for the area east of Highway 41 on Forest Dr. and Chilnualna Falls Rd. until further notice.

A glide path to release resources has begun as containment increases. Strategic objectives remain the same: continue suppression efforts by utilizing air and ground resources to hold the western and southern flanks while monitoring the northern and eastern edges. Minimal Impact Suppression Tactics are being used in the Yosemite Wilderness to manage the area of the fire, using natural barriers such as rocks or streams, trails, and other minimal disturbance methods to contain the fire.

Thunderstorm activity is expected again today and may cause erratic winds over the fire area. Storms are predicted to decrease throughout the week as system of higher pressure moves into the region.

August 21, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Crews made significant progress yesterday building and strengthening line on the west side of the fire above Wawona. Contingency lines were also established to the northwest leading to Turner Ridge. Firefighters now have access to the South Fork and have been inserted to extinguish spot fires that have been occurring the past few days. Today crews will continue burning operations above Wawona from the fireline to the S. Fork of the Merced. Mandatory evacuations will remain in place in Wawona for the area east of Highway 41 on Forest Dr. and Chilnualna Falls Rd. until further notice.

The fire remains active on the west and south edges. Crews continue to spike in an effort to utilize as much daylight as possible. A combination of firing operations, air support, and direct line construction will continue. Aircraft will assist ground crews when conditions allow generally beginning mid-day.

Strategic objectives remain the same: continue suppression efforts by utilizing air and ground resources to hold the western and southern flanks while monitoring the northern and eastern edges. Minimal Impact Suppression Tactics are being used in the Yosemite Wilderness to manage the area of the fire, using natural barriers such as rocks or streams, trails, and other minimal disturbance methods to contain the fire.

Thunderstorm activity is expected to cause erratic winds over the fire area through mid-week. Gusty winds associated with thunderstorms could cause problematic fire activity near the fire if they materialize.

August 21, 2017 at 8:03 AM

Crews are being inserted into the southeast portion of the fire in an effort to halt the eastern spread of the fire.
Thunderstorm activity is expected to cause erratic winds over the fire area through mid-week. Gusty erratic winds associated with thunderstorms could cause problematic fire activity in Division A and the firing operations should they materialize. Crews continue to spike in an effort to utilize as much daylight as possible. The west flank of the fire is approximately 1/4 mile east of Wawona. The fire continues to pose a threat to Wawona, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. A combination of firing operations, air support, direct line construction and use of natural barriers are the current tactics being implemented to meet protection objectives.

Projected Incident Activity

12 hours: Mandatory evacuations will remain in place for Wawona. Fire remains active along the western and eastern edges. Crew continue to strengthen lines with firing operations located east of Wawona in Division A. Heavy inversions continue to ground aircraft until late afternoon. When these inversions lift, fire activity increases.

24 hours: Mandatory evacuations will remain in place for Wawona. Fire remains active along the western and eastern edges. Crew continue to strengthen lines with firing operations located east of Wawona in Division A. Heavy inversions continue to ground aircraft until late afternoon. When these inversions lift, fire activity increases.

48 hours: Mandatory evacuations will remain in place for Wawona. Continue to aggressively suppress fire spread toward community of Wawona on the west flank of the fire.

August 19, 2017 at 12:15 PM

A Mandatory Evacuation Order has been issued for Wawona.

Evacuation order is for all areas east of Highway 41 along Chilnualna Falls Rd. and Forest Dr. Residents and visitors must vacate by 4:00 pm today.

Red Cross Shelter at Tenaya Lodge.

Community meeting will be held at Tenaya Lodge at 6PM

August 19, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Due to increased fire activity and threat of thunderstorm downdrafts, the area east of Highway 41 on Forest Dr. and Chilnualna Falls Rd. is closed to visitors and guests. Permanent residents are advised to be ready to evacuate within 12-24 hours, however they should be ready to leave with shorter notice if conditions warrant. At this time, the fire remains within contingency lines.

Fire activity increased yesterday primarily due to downdraft winds from thunderstorms. The area east of Highway 41 on Forest Dr. and Chilnualna Falls Rd. is closed to visitors and guests. Permanent residents are advised to be ready to evacuate within 12-24 hours, however they should be ready to leave with shorter notice if conditions warrant.

There will be a community meeting at the Wawona Community Center at 6pm on Saturday August 19th. Air quality specialists will be present to answer questions from residents regarding smoke in the community.

Today, crews will work to contain the spot fires that occurred late yesterday afternoon and evening. Aircraft will assist ground crews when conditions warrant after the inversion lifts and smoke clears. Strategic objectives remain the same: utilize air and ground resources to hold the western and southern flanks while monitoring the northern and eastern edges. Minimal Impact Suppression Tactics are being used in the Yosemite Wilderness to manage the area of the fire, using natural barriers such as rocks or streams, trails, and other minimal disturbance methods to contain the fire.

Smoke will continue to affect the Wawona area, particularly in the evenings and mornings. Community members who are sensitive to smoke should consult their physician and may want remain indoors or leave the area in periods of heavy smoke. Residents can monitor the air quality links below for current information.

A chance of thunderstorms will be possible over the Sierra Nevada each afternoon and evening into early next week.

August 18, 2017 at 9:07 AM

There will be a community meeting in Wawona at the Community Center, Saturday August 19th at 6 pm

Projected Incident Activity

Voluntary evacuations in Wawona still in place. Fire continues to spread to the northeast. Heavy inversions have grounded aircraft until late afternoon, it is when these inversions lift that most visible fire activity occurs.

24 hours: Continue to aggressively suppress fire spread toward the community of Wawona on the west flank of the fire.

48 hours: Voluntary community evacuations are still in place. Fire continues spread to the northeast.

72 hours: Secure south edge of fire and keep fire contained to south fork of Merced River, secure west flank.

August 17, 2017 at 7:27 AM

The fireline is holding north of the South Fork and east of Chilnualna Creek. Air resources will continue to assist the firefighting effort in dropping retardant and water on the west and south flanks of the fire.

Smoke is expected to be heavy in the fire area and adjacent communities and is likely to be very dense in Wawona in the evenings and mornings. Community members who are sensitive to smoke may want to close their windows and doors and monitor the air quality links below.

The South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team (Deron Mills IC) assumed command of the fire at 6:00 AM on August 16th.

Current Closures

· Wawona Campground

· Bridalveil Creek Campground

· Big Trees Golf Course

· Wawona mule rides are not operating

· The Badger Pass-Glacier Point shuttle will not operate until further notice as the incident command post is occupying the Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area facility and parking lot. The Glacier Point Road will remain open to the public, however, it will close periodically between 10am and 5pm each day when parking at Glacier Point fills to capacity (and will reopen when sufficient space is available). Traffic delays should be expected.

August 15, 2017 at 10:57 AM

The South Fork fire is burning 1.0 mile east of the community of Wawona upstream of Swinging Bridge in the South Fork of the Merced River drainage. The fire is burning in the wilderness but is being managed for protection objectives due to its close proximity to the community of Wawona.

The fire was discovered at 2:30 p.m. on August 13, 2017. Tactics in use include helicopter bucket work, retardant drops and tanker drops mainly on the left flank of the fire.

Strategic objectives are containment of the west flank and keeping the fire north of the river for protection of the community of Wawona. Air resources, hand crews and type 3 engines are all being utilized.

The fire is burning in dense mixed conifer forest with areas of heavy tree mortality. Most of the projected fire growth is expected on the north and northeast flanks of the fire which is burning into the wilderness and away from the community. However, the fire also continues to back down the South Fork drainage.

Smoke is expected to be heavy in the fire area and adjacent communities and is likely to be very dense in Wawona in the evenings and mornings. Visibility may be impacted along Wawona Road (Hwy 41 extension) south to Fish Camp, Glacier Point Road, Yosemite Valley, Hwy 140 from El Portal to Mariposa, and Tioga Pass to the Mono Lake area.

Portable and stationary particulate monitors are placed in areas that are most likely to see impacts of smoke during certain hours of the day. The local air quality districts use the data from these monitors to issue air quality alerts and notices. Fire Managers are working with the local Air Quality Districts and will be monitoring smoke impacts to the community of Wawona, park and local communities. Community members who are sensitive to smoke may want to close their windows and doors and monitor the air quality links below.

August 15, 2017 at 8:31 AM

  • Voluntary evacuations for Wawona on the east side of Chilnaulna Falls Ridge

Projected Incident Activity

12 hours: Continue to aggressively suppress fire spread toward community of Wawona on west flank of fire. Camp Wawona and homes on Chilnualna Falls Ridge, voluntary evacuation.
24 hours: Prepare community for potential evacuations.
48 hours: Direct line construction on west edge of fire and actively monitor potential spread to avoid fire getting south of the South Fork of the Merced river. Aggressively suppress any spot fires in that area.
72 hours: Secure south edge of the fire and keep contained to South fork of Merced, secure west flank.
Priority is protection of life and property of Wawona and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

August 14, 2017 at 8:31 AM

The South Fork fire is burning 1.5 mile east of the community of Wawona upstream of Swinging Bridge in the South Fork of the Merced River drainage.  The fire is burning in the wilderness but is being managed for protection objectives due to its close proximity to the community of Wawona.

The fire was discovered yesterday at 2:30 p.m. and air resources were quickly on scene. Initial attack was highly effective. Tactics included helicopter bucket work and tanker drops on the left flank of the fire.

Strategic objectives today are containment of the west flank and keeping the fire north of the river for protection of the community of Wawona. Air resources, hand crews and type 3 engines are all being utilized.

The fire is burning in dense mixed conifer forest with areas of heavy tree mortality.  Most of the projected fire growth is expected on the north and northeast flanks of the fire which is burning into the wilderness and away from the community.

Smoke is expected to be heavy in the fire area and adjacent communities and is expected to be very dense in Wawona in the evenings and mornings. Visibility may be impacted along Wawona Road (Hwy 41 extension) south to Fish Camp, Glacier Point Road, Yosemite Valley, Hwy 140 from El Portal to Mariposa, and Tioga Pass to the Mono Lake area.

Portable and stationary particulate monitors are placed in areas that are most likely to see impacts of smoke during certain hours of the day. The local air quality districts use the data from these monitors to issue air quality alerts and notices. Fire Managers are working with the local Air Quality Districts and will be monitoring smoke impacts to the community of Wawona, park and local communities. Community members who are sensitive to smoke may want to close their windows and doors and monitor the air quality links below.