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Yosemite Fire (“Telegraph Fire”)

Yosemite Valley

Twelve homes have been lost to a rapidly spreading fire OUTSIDE of Yosemite National Park. The fire started on Sunday and is threatening 2000 homes. I looked unsuccessfully for a description of the fire on the Governor’s Office of Emergency Planning interactive map page.

(Update August 2, 2008: KTVU TV news at 10 PM PDT last night said that 21 homes have been destroyed, and that this fire is now 60% contained.)

(Update August 3, 2008: KTVU TV reported last night that this 53-square-mile wildfire was about 80% contained.)

(Update August 4, 2008: KTVU TV reported last night that the fire was 90% contained and that evacuations were no longer being ordered. The fire is expected to be 100% contained soon.)

(Update August 5, 2008: KTVU TV announced last night at 10 PM PDT that this fire was 95% contained and was expected to be 100% contained today. Great job firefighters and support staff! Thank you!)

KTVU TV news tonight stated that the firefighting effort had closed Highway 140, so please check its status if you are planning to visit the park by that route. Some Yosemite visitors have packed and left campgrounds today as the wildfire burned out of control. The fire has burned over 42 square miles and forced the evacuation of about 300 homes in the towns of Midpines and Coulterville (Mariposa County). On Monday, the fire was 10% contained as it burned 12 miles west of Yosemite National Park. The park has remained open.

(Note added July 28, 2008 21:45 PDT: This fire has been officially designated the “Telegraph Fire.”)

(Note added July 29 at 10:22 AM PDT: KCBS TV news at 11 PM last night had a reporter in Yosemite Valley. All electricity to Yosemite Valley had been shut off [the wires run along the Highway 140 corridor] to protect firefighters, and small generators within the Valley were being used to supply SOME of the electrical needs. There may be additional electrical power generators coming online, at least that was a goal. As an aside, the report said that bears have been very active in the Valley this year. He also said that people registering at the lodge were given flashlights. Half Dome was not visible from Tunnel View [photo above] as the result of smoke blowing into the Valley by prevailing westerly winds. The fire is believed to have started from someone target shooting in the area.)

(Note added July 29, 2008: KTVU TV news tonight at 10 PM PDT stated that 21 homes have been destroyed in the fire. Better air in Yosemite Valley today brought out many visitors who were engaged in outdoor activities. The news showed a firefighting helicopter dipping a bucket into the Merced River in the canyon followed by Highway 140, which remained closed today.)

The campgrounds within Yosemite are full. At the peak of summer, the park has as many as 4000 visitors each day.

There are currently 3000 firefighters on the scene, from as far away as Greece.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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