Yosemite WIldfire Continues

Yosemite Wildfire Update: Smoke Hampers Progress

September 1, 2013

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — For the first time since a wildfire broke out around Yosemite National Park, dense smoke has begun to obscure the region’s majestic mountain views, park officials say.

The smoke from the two-week-old fire that shrouded parts of Yosemite Valley Saturday also hampered firefighting efforts.

“I’m in Yosemite Valley right now, and I cannot see the cliffs around me,” spokeswoman Kari Cobb said. “The wind has shifted and smoke is impacting the entire park. We have been lucky until now.”

All the campgrounds in the Valley still were full as of Saturday morning, despite the thick blanket and burning smell that permeated the area and was expected to linger until at least Monday, she said.

As a health precaution, visitors were being asked to scale back their outdoor recreation plans and avoid strenuous activities or even stay indoors.

Meanwhile, firefighting aircraft were grounded most of the morning because of low visibility caused by the smoke, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Mark Healey said. The blaze had scorched 348 square miles of brush, oaks and pines and 11 homes, as of Saturday, an area larger than the cities of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose combined.

Of that total, 94 square miles of wilderness have burned in the northern section of Yosemite, up from 75 square miles a day earlier.

The fire was 40 percent contained.

Although containment efforts proceeded on a positive note overnight, officials became concerned Saturday about a 150-acre spot fire that crossed a road and prompted an evacuation order for homes near the west entrance of Yosemite, Healey said.

Once planes and water-dropping helicopters were cleared to take off again, the worry lifted some along with the evacuation order.

“Air operations are going full-blast to bring this fire under control,” Healey said late Saturday afternoon.

The cause of the fire, which started August 17 and has claimed the most acreage in the Stanislaus National Forest, is under investigation.

Healey said fresh firefighters were being brought in to replace tired crews, but that officials did not plan to reduce the nearly 5,000 people assigned to the blaze.

The wildfire is the largest now burning in the United States and is the fifth-largest in California history.

from:    http://www.wunderground.com/news/yosemite-wildfire-update-20130901

Yosemite Wildfire

Western Wildfire Update: Yosemite-Area Blaze Balloons in Size

Gosia Wozniacki Published: Aug 22, 2013, 11:42 AM EDT Associated Press

Fhttp://www.weather.com/news/west-wildfire-update-yosemite-natl-park-fire-rages-out-control-20130822RESNO, Calif.  — A wildfire outside Yosemite National Park – one of more than 50 major brush blazes burning across the western U.S. – more than tripled in size overnight and still threatens about 2,500 homes, hotels and camp buildings.

Fire officials said the blaze burning in remote, steep terrain had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained on Thursday, down from 5 percent a day earlier.

The fire has destroyed two homes and seven outbuildings and led to the voluntary evacuation of the gated summer community of Pine Mountain Lake, which has a population of 2,800.

Several organized camps and at least two campgrounds have been evacuated since the fire broke out Saturday.

Western Wildfires

Each icon represents one of the dozens of large fires currently burning across the West.

The fire also caused the closure of a 4-mile stretch of State Route 120, one main path into Yosemite on the west side. The park remains open and can be accessed via state Routes 140 and 4.

“This is typically a very busy time for us until Labor Day, so it’s definitely affecting business not having the traffic come through to Yosemite,” said Britney Sorsdahl, a manager at the Iron Door Saloon and Grill in Groveland, a community of about 600 about 5 miles from the fire.

The board of supervisors in Tuolumne County held an emergency meeting and voted for a resolution asking Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency and free funds for the firefight.

The resolution said the fire was “directly threatening” communities and “beyond our capabilities,” according to the Modesto Bee.

The fire was among the nation’s top firefighting priorities, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

Fifty-one major uncontained wildfires are burning throughout the West, according to the center, including in California, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. More than 19,000 firefighters were fighting the fires.

But the U.S. Forest Service, the nation’s top wildfire-fighting agency, said Wednesday that it is running out of money to fight wildfires and is diverting $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to fill the gap. The agency said it had spent $967 million so far this year and was down to $50 million – typically enough to pay for just a few days of fighting fires when the nation is at its top wildfire preparedness level, which went into effect Tuesday.

There have been more than 32,000 fires this year that have burned more than 5,300 square miles.

On Wednesday, the National Interagency Fire Center listed two fires in Montana as the nation’s number one priority. They include a wildfire burning west of Missoula that has surpassed 13 square miles, destroyed five homes, closed U.S. Highway 12 and led to multiple evacuations. The Lolo Fire Complex, which was zero percent contained, also destroyed an unknown number of outbuildings and vehicles.

At least 19 other notable fires were burning across the state, leading Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to declare a state of emergency, which allows the use of National Guard resources ranging from personnel to helicopters.

In Oregon, a fire in the Columbia Gorge about 10 miles southwest of The Dalles grew to 13 square miles, burning a fourth home. The fire was 15 percent contained. Strong winds continued to fan the blaze, pushing it into the Mount Hood National Forest.

Firefighters in southwestern Oregon braced for a return of lightning storms that started a series of fires last month that continue to burn in rugged timberlands.

In Idaho, progress was reported in the fight against the nearly 169-square-mile Beaver Creek fire, which forced the evacuation of 1,250 homes in the resort area of Ketchum and Sun Valley. That fire was 47 percent contained, authorities said.

In Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, officials reopened a 7-mile section of road closed briefly by a wildfire. As of Wednesday, the Alum Fire had burned about 12 square miles and was spreading slowly, leading park officials to make preliminary evacuation plans for a community on the shore of Yellowstone Lake.

AP writers Jeff Barnard in Grants Pass, Ore., Matt Volz in Helena, Mont., and Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyo. contributed to this report.

from:     http://www.weather.com/news/west-wildfire-update-yosemite-natl-park-fire-rages-out-control-20130822

Reno Wildfire

Nevada declares emergency over wildfire near Reno

By Riley Snyder | Reuters – 

RENO, Nev (Reuters) – Nevada’s governor declared a state of emergency on Friday over a wildfire raging at the edge of a hilly Reno suburb that has damaged 25 structures, forced 9,500 people from their homes, and was blamed for an elderly man’s death.

The Caughlin Fire in northern Nevada broke out overnight and blackened more than 2,000 acres as it moved through populated areas on the outskirts of the city, said Michele Anderson, spokeswoman for Reno Mayor Bob Cashell.

“The firefighters are battling with extremely high winds right now that are also extremely erratic,” Anderson said, adding that firefighters were focused on protecting homes in the area. Two evacuation centers had been set up.

Hundreds of embers were flying through the air as winds gusted up to 60 miles per hour, carrying the danger of starting spot fires up to a mile away, fire officials said. But by afternoon, a team of 450 firefighters had halted the blaze’s forward advance, the officials told a news conference.

Sixteen people were hospitalized for respiratory or cardiac illnesses, according to theRegional Emergency Medical Services Authority.

A 74-year-old man died after he suffered a heart attack and his car veered off the road as he evacuated his home with his wife, said Kevin Romero, EMS director for Reno’s Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority.

“We’ve been through a lot the past six months,” Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval said during a press conference, referring to a string of deadly disasters that has disproportionately affected the northern part of the state.

“This community has once again come together. I’m so proud of how everybody has done this.”


Sandoval requested and received approval for federal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been and are being affected by this fire,” Sandoval said on his website.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, acknowledged the fires ravaging his home state on the Senate floor in Washington on Friday, saying his son, Leif, could see the fire from his home.

“Unfortunately strong winds, including 60-mile-per-hour gusts, are working against them. Firefighters are calling the winds a perfect storm,” Reid said. “Winds are so strong, helicopters can’t take off to assist in containing the fire.”

The area in which the fire was burning is very hilly with a lot of dead grass and sage brush, in the immediate vicinity of residential areas.

Air quality readings are elevated and residents are encouraged to stay indoors, Anderson said. Several nearby casinos were offering free rooms for those who lost homes in the blaze, and discounts to anyone evacuated.

The fire is the latest in a string of northern Nevada disasters in recent months. A deadly Amtrak collision 70 miles east of Reno killed six people in June.

Later, a gunman opened fire in a Carson City pancake house in September, killing four people before committing suicide. Then, in the same month, a vintage plane nose-dived near the grand stands at a Reno air race, killing 11 people.

from:    http://news.yahoo.com/nevada-governor-declares-state-emergency-wildfire-183519108.html

More Texas & Oklahoma Wildfires

Wildfires again rage through Texas and Oklahoma

ReutersBy Marice Richter | Reuters – Wed, Aug 31, 2011
DALLAS (Reuters) – Wildfires raged through Texas and Oklahoma again on Wednesday, threatening homes and buildings and charring thousands of acres of parched, dry land.

The Texas Forest Service has declared this to be the worst fire season in the state’s history. Forest service officials, along with firefighters in communities across the state have responded to 20,155 fires that have burned a record 3.5 million acres since last November 15.

Six of the 10 largest wildfires recorded in Texas occurred in April and 20 of the 40 largest were recorded this year, according to the forest service. Fires this year have destroyed 3,000 structures, including 679 homes.

The danger is not over as new fires continued to break out due to hot, dry weather and extreme drought that persists throughout most of the state.

In North Texas, firefighters were still trying to control a massive fire that erupted in a lakefront community west of Fort Worth on Tuesday.

Central Oklahoma remained under a red flag fire warning on Wednesday, the day after a wildfire destroyed 33 homes in northeast Oklahoma City.

Evacuations at Possum Kingdom Lake, about 75 miles west of Fort Worth, resumed Wednesday afternoon when the wind picked up and fanned the flames that firefighters had some success in containing overnight.

“As soon as the wind picked up, the fires started spreading quickly again,” said John Nichols, a spokesman for the Texas Forest Service.

The fire destroyed at least 39 homes and buildings and burned more than 6,200 acres by Wednesday evening. Property owners in several neighborhoods around the lake were evacuated by boat to a hotel on another area on Tuesday because roads were cutoff by the flames.

But as the fire again quickly spread on Wednesday, those evacuees were again forced to flee, along with others from neighborhoods that were unaffected on Tuesday.

“Fortunately we were able to move our car yesterday before it got too bad,” said resident Laura Kirklen. “We heard a local church was sending a bus for some of those who had no other way out.”

Firefighters were battling the fast-moving fire from the ground and air. Heavy air tankers, single-engine aircraft and helicopters were dumping water on the fires. Possum Kingdom Lake was the sight of the state’s fifth largest recorded wildfire in April, when more than 160 homes were destroyed and over 126,000 acres were burned during two weeks.

for more, go to:   http://news.yahoo.com/wildfires-again-rage-texas-oklahoma-234909723.html