Ferguson Fire now biggest in Sierra history
Fire crews remove debris from the roadway as the Ferguson Fire continues to blaze through Sierra National Forest.
The Ferguson Fire on Monday had encompassed 91,502 acres with 38 percent containment and 2,689 personnel engaged on fighting fire, which include 203 engines, 20 water tenders, 14 helicopters, 40 crews, 5 masticators and 33 dozers.
There have been 2 fatalities and 11 injuries to date. Ten structures have been destroyed. The Ferguson Fire is now the largest fire in the Sierra National Forest’s History. This fire is being managed as a full suppression fire.
The Ferguson Fire is now in its 25th day; the incident started July 13 on the Sierra National Forest and is managed under unified command between the U.S. Forest Service, California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, and the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. Pockets of unburned vegetation remain inside the footprint of the fire, providing a more diversified landscape for plants and wildlife.
Completion of the firing operation south of Wawona to the South Fork of the Merced River is a significant achievement for firefighters. This successful operation will secure the community of Wawona and the Mariposa Grove. Vegetation will continue to burn in Iron Creek Drainage within the interior of the fire, reducing the likelihood of future spotting. Once cooled, the southeast perimeter of the fire should be secured, freeing up resources to assist with other parts of the fire.
Along the northern perimeter of the fire, crews kept the fire from crossing Highway 120 above Merced Grove. Expert sawyers, firefighters trained in cutting down large hazardous trees, work to remove fire-weakened trees from the Highway 120 corridor. Removal of these trees is necessary prior to the reopening of the highway.
Firefighters are burning along dozer-constructed containment lines from the tunnel on Big Oak Flat Road toward State Route 140 to contain fire spreading northeast from Foresta. Options are being explored to secure the southern portion of the fire above El Portal and Old El Portal. Fire did not challenge containment lines around those or other communities along the State Route 140 corridor. Structure defense specialists and law enforcement remained within all evacuated communities.
Firefighters are engaging the fire burning across Wawona Road (State Route 41) with line construction from Elephant Rock to the burn scar of the 2017 Empire Fire using roads and natural features. A southern containment line was identified along a former service road leading toward Badger Pass.
Fire behavior will decrease as a slight change in the weather occurs. Vegetation is dry and the potential for the fire to spread rapidly remains a possibility. Residents will continue to see smoke and multiple smoke columns.
Firefighters remain committed to fully suppressing this fire and are actively engaged, taking action to limit the fire’s spread when it is safe to do so. The fire activity inside Yosemite National Park is dynamic.
The following areas remain closed: Yosemite Valley, El Portal Road, Wawona Road, Big Oak Flat Road, Glacier Point, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias, Wawona Campground, Crane Flat Campground, Tamarack Campground, and several other sections of the Park. Visit www.nps.gov/yose for the most up-to-date information. The public is reminded to stay vigilant of firefighters and fire traffic along the roadways.
A large portion of Yosemite National Park remains open. Tioga Road from Tioga Pass to White Wolf is open to all visitors and vehicles. Most of the trails and campgrounds along this route, including the Tuolumne Meadows Campground are open. Visitor services along Tioga Road, including the High Sierra Camps and the Tuolumne Meadows Store are open. For more information, go to nps.gov/yose or call 209-372-0200.