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Half Dome from the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park

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Re: Yosemite Fires - Update #10

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avatar Yosemite Fires - Update #10
August 11, 2011 08:08PM
Yosemite Fires - Update #10
Avalanche Fire: (37 39.794 x 119 42.238; 6,400’el. Mariposa Co.) This lightning caused fire was found on the afternoon of July 31, 2011. The fire is at 404 acres. The fire could potentially grow to 5,800 acres.

Firefighters are igniting fuels (firing) along spur ridges to bring a backing fire towards Glacier Point Road. The operation will increase the acres and amount of visible smoke. Firefighters remain on scene through nighttime hours to insure holding the fire to the east of Glacier Point Road. As the fire moves closer to the roadways, the presence of firefighters, fire equipment and smoke will increase. Drivers are urged to adhere to posted 25mph speed limits, possible single lane closures and traffic officer instructions.

Combined with previous fires, roadside mechanical thinning, vegetation debris pile burning, and prescribed fires, this fire will provide a defensible fire buffer to the community of Yosemite West, Badger Pass Ski Resort, Glacier Point and other park infrastructures. Although numerous fires have occurred in the area, the most recent being the 2009, 3,500 ac. Grouse Fire, this area has no recorded fire history. Extensive logging did occur in the early 1900’s. Given the time of the year, seasonal severity, fuels, weather and topography, this fire will meet the objectives with minimal risk to other values, including firefighter and public safety, federal and public property, air quality, and Wilderness values and character.

The fire is within the park’s Wilderness boundary and will be managed for multiple objectives. The fire is creeping and smoldering through duff and other surface fuels. Another rationale for this fire is to restore landscape resiliency in a portion of the park that has not burned in recent history. Lightning fires have shaped the forest landscape for thousands of years. The fire will rid the forest of an overabundance of dead and down surface fuels and smaller diameter shade tolerant trees. Wildland fires create open spaces (mosaics) within dense forest, allowing sunlight to penetrate the forest floor. The fire will enhance wildlife habitat and the ability of animals to move through the forest.

Smoke is visible from many locations along the Wawona and Big Oak Flat Roads, from the community of El Portal, and locations outside of the park. Fire managers are working closely with the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District concerning potential air quality impacts. Yosemite’s Division of Resources and Sciences crews have installed air quality monitoring equipment within the communities of Yosemite West, El Portal and Yosemite Valley. Several fire management action points have been identified where the fire could be held when air dispersion is poor, and then can be accelerated when the atmosphere has more capacity. Actions may be used by firefighters to minimize and reduce smoke impacts, such as helicopter water drops to cool portions of the fire.

For additional Information: Fire Information and Education: Gary_Wuchner@nps.gov; (209) 375-9574 or (209) 372-0480. Yosemite Fire Management Website: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/current_fire.htm.
Re: Yosemite Fires - Update #10
August 11, 2011 09:19PM
I applaud the resource management and information dissemination on this fire, and I'm sorry to hear of the smoke going where it will to impact those who don't want it. I am a former Yosemite employee who experienced firefighting in the 70's, and I've lived on the east side of Yellowstone for the past 37 years. I have now been on the periphery of several major fire storms that mortal man cannot extinguish, only precipitation provided by fall equinox storms. Wild fire fighting is a constantly-changing science, and events of the past several decades have brought about some profound improvements.

The foregoing is the positive side, and I pray you never experience a massive fire storm. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, and I recall two weeks of 112 degree temperatures in the summer of 1962. I believe that was also the time of the Harlow Fire near Oakhurst that burned a large mountain near Ahwahnee - in 17 minutes! I say again my regrets over the unwelcome smoke, but you could have it much worse - and I hope that you don't.
Re: Yosemite Fires - Update #10
August 11, 2011 10:48PM
The visibility was decent from Watkins, but horrendous from North Dome. Smoke filled up the entire Valley basically. From North Dome, about all I could see was a mere silhouette of the top of El Cap. Illilouette Fall was barely visible.
Picasa 8/10/11

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2011 10:52PM by Ohnivy-Drak.
avatar Re: Yosemite Fires - Update #10
August 12, 2011 12:17AM
Unfortunately, smoke that thick simply isn't good for people with respiratory problems. For those of us who are healthy, this smoke is just a minor inconvenience. For others that can have trouble breathing, it's not good. I feel for those people.
avatar Re: Yosemite Fires - Update #10
August 12, 2011 01:22AM
Unfortunately, smoke that thick simply isn't good for people with respiratory problems. For those of us who are healthy, this smoke is just a minor inconvenience. For others that can have trouble breathing, it's not good. I feel for those people.

Not so good for hiking people either.
Re: Yosemite Fires - Update #10
August 14, 2011 11:47PM
Any more updates? Has the smoke left the valley?
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