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RIM FIRE Raining Ash on Key SF Reservoir

Posted by feww on August 27, 2013

Explosive blaze devours at least 160,980 acres (251.53mi²)

Rim Fire is burning less than a mile from Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy reservoir on the Tuolumne River, raining ash on San Francisco’s main water source.

The massive fire had blackened at least 22,000 acres within YNP as of Monday morning, forcing the closure of Highway 120, the main road leading into the park from the San Francisco Bay area, and prompting evacuation of the remainder of 74 campsites in the park’s White Wolf area, officials said.

Although the fallout of ash and soot has not yet significantly deteriorated the Hetch Hetchy’s water quality, officials fear winter rains could cause runoff of debris and topsoil, which is stripped of vegetation by the blaze, severely affecting the reservoir.

“When you burn down everything, you’ve got a moonscape out there when floods can contaminate the water,” said California Gov. Brown on Monday during a visit to the fire zone. Brown declared a state of emergency for City and County of San Francisco on Friday due to threats to the city’s electricity and water supplies.

RIM FIRE Map as of August 26, 2013 @ 6:00amrime fire map 26 aug 2013

  • RIM FIRE became 11th largest wildfire in California history, as of Monday morning, and climbing.
  • At least 30 ACTIVE fires, larger than 100 acres, have been burning about 345,000 acres across California since late June.
  • Rime Fire is one of about 5 dozen major fires currently burning across the western U.S.
  • Drought, high temperatures and insect-damaged forests have fueled about 6,000 wildfires across the region, so far this season.

RIM FIRE: Basic Information
Last Updated: August 26, 2013 6:30 pm [CAL FIRE Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit]
Date/Time Started: August 17, 2013 3:25 pm
County: Tuolumne County
Location: 3 miles east of Groveland along Hwy 120
Acres Burned – Containment: 160,980 acres – 20% contained
Structures Threatened: 4,500
Structures Destroyed: 23 [About 1,000 outbuildings have also been destroyed. REUTERS]
Total Fire Personnel: 3,752
Total Fire Engines: 460
Total Fire crews: 71
Total Helicopters: 15
Total Dozers: 60
Total Water Tenders: 43

Evacuations, Closures and Other Fire Info

A forest closure is in effect for locations near and in advance of the fire. Several locations on the west side of Yosemite National Park have had closures implemented as a result of the fires spread. Evacuation Advisories are still in effect for Tuolumne City and nearby areas along the Highway 108 corridor. Mandatory evacuations were issued for Old Yosemite Road. 

Evacuation Warning has been issued for all residences north of Bull Creek Road (Forest Road 2S02), Bondurant Mine Road, Texas Hill Road, and Wampum Hill.  An evacuation center is at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora.

Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows has been evacuated. 

The Rim incident is expected to continue to exhibit very large fire growth due to extremely dry fuels, strong winds and inaccessible terrain. Rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior and hampering suppression efforts. [Cal Fire/Inciweb]

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