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El Portal Fire near Yosemite!

Yosemite Valley View from Big Oak Flat Road

The El Portal Fire began on Saturday, destroying one duplex in Foresta and forcing evacuations in the communities of Foresta and El Portal, as well as three campsites: Crane Flat, Yosemite Creek, and Bridalveil Creek. By this afternoon (Monday), firefighters had achieved a 5% containment of the wildfire, which has burned 2,600 acres on the western edge of Yosemite National Park.

About 580 firefighting personnel are fighting the blaze. Today, the smoke from the wildfire grew thicker in Yosemite Valley. The terrain is steep, and the vegetation is dry. My image above is a view of Yosemite Valley from Big Oak Flat Road, in an area that is currently closed by the fire. Big Oak Flat Road is closed between Crane Flat Road and the Highway 140 junction in Merced River Canyon. Highways 140 and 41, as well as the Tioga Road (California Highway 120 through Yosemite’s high country) are still open, but visitor should expect delays.

The El Portal Fire is burning in an area south of the area burned by the Rim Fire last year. There is a 20% chance of thunderstorms through Tuesday in El Portal, which could be a mixed blessing because lightning that accompanies the rain could spark additional fires. The high temperature in El Portal today was 106 F.

-Bill at

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