A large and uncontained blaze near Yosemite National Park forced hospital patients to shelter in place


Important Takeaways:

  • With much of the country in the grip of a heat wave that is set to break daily temperature records and make conditions dangerously hot during the holiday weekend, a large and uncontained blaze near Yosemite National Park has triggered evacuations and forced hospital patients to shelter in place.
  • Evacuations ordered as new California wildfire ignites in scorching heat wave
  • Meteorologists warned earlier this week that the holiday period could be hit by a dual threat of dangerously high heat and wildfires.
  • Almost the entire town of Mariposa was under a mandatory evacuation order, with a large area to the east under an evacuation warning.
  • In Northern California the much larger Thompson Fire continues to rage across Butte County, where it has burned through almost 3,800 acres and is 46% contained as of Friday morning.
  • Many Fourth of July celebrations were canceled across California on Thursday as temperatures soared past the 100 degree mark, while places reached 110.

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Rapidly growing Oak Fire nearly 18,000 acres 0% containment threatens Yosemite

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Oak Fire bears down on Yosemite and 2,000 homeowners who are REFUSING to evacuate: Wildfire is ‘0% contained’ despite three-day effort of firefighters who ‘haven’t seen fire behavior like this before’
  • Dubbed the Oak Fire, the blaze suddenly surfaced Friday and has since spread rapidly – prompting California fire officials to concede Sunday that the inferno was still ‘0 percent contained’ after burning for a fourth day
  • The fire has since burgeoned into the biggest the state has seen all year, with more than 3,800 ordered to flee their homes in remote communities in the usually scenic Sierra Nevada mountains out of fear for their lives
  • Firefighters successfully halted it from reaching the nearby communities of Lushmeadows and Mariposa Pines
  • Photos and video footage from the stricken region – a rural landscape home to nearly 18,000 – show the destruction left by the fast-moving inferno
  • The fire has since spread east at a rapid rate, putting pressure on officials to contain the out-of-control flames
  • At least 10 structures have been destroyed thus far, California fire officials said Sunday, and five heavily damaged – with another 2,000 still at risk

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Yosemite wild fire grows in size as firefighters press hard to contain it

Revelation 16:9 “They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.”

Important Takeaways:

  • More than 1,000 firefighters scrambling as crews lose ground in Yosemite
  • Containment on Wednesday was estimated at 17%, according to Stanley Bercovitz, a spokesperson with the U.S. Forest Service and part of the California Incident Management Agency. That remains unchanged from Tuesday evening’s report but represents a 5% decrease from Tuesday’s morning report that estimated fire containment at around 22%.
  • Bercovitz said the fire had grown over 200 acres since Tuesday evening, from 3,516 to 3,772 acres as of Wednesday morning.
  • The day the fire started, and that it appeared to be human-caused. The incident managers say the cause is under investigation.
  • There are now 1,045 crew members dedicated to the Washburn fire, including everything from forest crews, hotshot crews, engines of various sizes, water tenders, and bulldozers, said Bercovitz.
  • The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias has experienced “minimal fire impacts” due to a long history of prescribed burning and proactive fire management and fuel reduction.
  • “As a result, there have been no known loss of any large giant sequoias”

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Yosemite fire doubles in size as firefighters fight to protect the trees

Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places

Important Takeaways:

  • Yosemite fire grows as crews protect iconic sequoias
  • Wildfire threatening the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park more than doubled in size in a day, and firefighters were working in difficult terrain Sunday to protect the iconic trees and a small mountain town as the U.S. weathers another very active year for fires.
  • The cause of the Washburn Fire was under investigation. It had grown to nearly 2.5 square miles (6.7 square kilometers) by Sunday morning, with no containment.
  • Beyond the trees, the community of Wawona, which is surrounded by parkland, was under threat, with people ordered to leave late Friday. In addition to residents, about 600 to 700 people who were staying at the Wawona campground in tents, cabins and a historic hotel were ordered to leave.
  • So far in 2022, over 35,000 wildfires have burned nearly 4.7 million acres in the U.S., according to the National Interagency Fire Center, well above average for both wildfires and acres burned.

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‘Nature welcomes the change’: with no tourists, wildlife roams California’s Yosemite

(Reuters) – A bear ambles across a forest glade and a herd of deer stroll down a silent road. At Yosemite National Park in Northern California, coronavirus restrictions mean no tourists – and bolder wildlife.

“It’s very quiet right now at the park,” Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean said in an interview.

“It’s an amazing scene where you hear the natural sounds of the river, wildlife and the birds. The wildlife is getting a little bit bolder now because there are few people around.”

Yosemite, one of the best-known national parks in the United States, has been closed to all except a few employees and local residents since March 20, in response to the public health emergency triggered by the coronavirus.

The park, famed for its waterfalls and giant sequoia trees, normally attracts over 3 million visitors a year, most of whom arrive between April and October.

“We are trying to anticipate and plan how the park will be when it reopens, because, you know, it won’t be business as usual this summer,” said Dean, whose nonprofit organization protects the park and runs services for visitors.

Dean added that he expected visitor patterns to be different once it does reopen – people may be reluctant to visit the restaurant or visitor center, for instance.

In the meantime, the wildlife is having a ball.

“I think nature is obviously welcoming the change,” said Dean. Bears, coming out of hibernation, were being seen more frequently as they were less secretive and felt more comfortable, he said.

Coyotes were the most noticeable change, said Dean.

“They are out in the daytime now and they’re not afraid. I mean, they’re just sort of walking by people and walking around, among buildings.”

(Reporting by Norma Galeana in Los Angeles; Writing by Rosalba O’Brien)

One dead, two firefighters hurt battling wildfires in U.S. West

Flames and smoke rise from a treeline in Mariposa County, California, U.S., July 17, 2018 in this still image taken from a social media video obtained July 18, 2018. INSTAGRAM/@JSTETTS/via REUTERS

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A tractor operator was killed while trying to clear brush around a massive wildfire in central Oregon and two firefighters were injured battling a blaze burning at the edge of Yosemite in California, officials in the two states said on Wednesday.

Crews responding to a report of a charred tractor near the 36,000-acre (14,600-hectare) Substation Fire burning near The Dalles, Oregon, found the unidentified driver nearby, Wasco County Sheriff’s officials said on the department’s Facebook page.

“It appears the tractor operator died as a result of exposure to the fire,” the sheriff’s office said, asking for the public’s help in identifying the victim.

In California, one firefighter broke a leg, requiring hospitalization, and a second was treated for heat-related illness, after fighting the so-called Ferguson Fire burning on the western boundary of Yosemite, said Richard Egan of the U.S. Forest Service.

The United States is facing an unusually active wildfire year, with some 3.3 million acres (1.3 million hectares) already charred this year, more than the year-to-date average of about 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) over the past decade.

The California injuries came as crews made a major push to cut containment lines around the conflagration before thunderstorms forecast for this week further whip up the flames.

“These next 48 hours are going to be pretty critical for us in terms of containing the fire,” Egan said, adding that lightning strikes could touch off new hot spots.

The blaze has blackened more than 17,300 acres (7,000 hectares) of forest in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, prompting the closure of State Route 140 and a Yosemite park entrance.

Fire managers have issued evacuation orders or advisories for the mountain communities of Jerseydale, Mariposa Pines, Clearing House and Incline.

Complicating firefighting efforts was an inversion layer of thick black smoke, visible for miles, that has prevented water-dropping aircraft from flying into narrow canyons.

That inversion layer, an atmospheric condition that prevents the warmer air and smoke from rising, was expected to partly clear on Wednesday evening as the storm approached, allowing aircraft to make runs at the fire, Egan said.

Firefighter Braden Varney was killed on Saturday when a bulldozer he was using to cut a fire break overturned, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Varney was the 10th U.S. wildland firefighter to die in the line of duty this year, according to National Interagency Fire Center data.

California has had its worst start to the fire season in a decade, with more than 220,421 acres (89,200 hectares) blackened and six major wildfires burning statewide as of Wednesday.

In Oregon, where the Substation Fire has burned since Tuesday, Governor Kate Brown declared an emergency, prompting authorities to issue evacuation orders for communities along the Deschutes River.

The risk of large wildfires is set to ease in much of the Southwest and Rocky Mountains because of expected summer rains, but remains high in California through October.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)