YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (KCBS) — Emergency systems called 13,000 homes and businesses to warn of the approaching flames, 1,000 were evacuated, and another 4,000 may be forced to flee as firefighters race to stop a massive wildfire raging near the entrance to Yosemite National Park.
By late Tuesday afternoon, Cal Fire’s Chris Christopherson was happy to report that the fire is 30-percent contained and that Highway 41, the main southern route into Yosemite National Park, has re-opened in both directions.
The “Junction Fire” has already injured two people, destroyed eight structures and was threatening a propane business with 30-thousand gallon tanks filled with extremely volatile liquefied fuel before firefighters fought it back. 469 people are on the fire lines right now.
“Extreme fire conditions related to the current drought situation have hampered containment,” writes Cal Fire on its website, adding “Firefighters are hopeful that lower temperatures, a rise in humidity and less wind will provide them with the ability to establish containment lines, utilizing hand crews and dozers.”
Crews from around the state are stationed around homes in the area to fight back the flames.
While the firefighters obtained the upper hand, 1,200 acres burned already — the flames are creating massive disruptions for life near the national park.
Four hotels in Oakhurst are evacuated, and schools in the Yosemite Unified School District are cancelling classes just days after the new school year began.
The Junction Fire comes just after the “Dark Hole” fire raged through Old El Portal and Foresta, burning 5,000 acres and costing nearly $11 million to fight. It was contained on August 4th, but not before it also disrupted travel along Highway 140 on the route into the main Yosemite Valley. Yosemite Creek and Foresta Campgrounds remain closed because of it.
Even after a fire is contained, crews remain on scene working to rehabilitate the area. This includes handling soil erosion suppression, and building “water bars” with bulldozers, to divert runoff. Crews also remove berms created during the firefight, and try to restore turnout areas created when large equipment disrupted the ground cover.
Smoky conditions may still exist throughout Yosemite and the foothill areas.
For Yosemite air quality: http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/aqmonitoring.htm
ACTIVE FIRE INFORMATION FOR “JUNCTION FIRE”:
For the latest evacuations go to:http://www.facebook.com/MaderaSheriff
Evacuations are in effect for the following areas: Mandatory
- Road 620 between Highway 41 and Lone Oak Lane
- Jean Road East, Jean Road West, Scott Road and Taylor Mountain
- All residence and business between Highway 41 North from Road 426 to Road 620Advisory
- Sky Ranch Road, and the community of Cedar ValleyEvacuation Shelters:
- Yosemite Lakes Community Church, 43840 Patrick, Coarsegold CA
- Coarsegold Community Center, 35540 Highway 41,Coarsegold CARoad Closures:
- Highway 41 from Road 426 to Road 620
- Road 222 from Highway 41 to Road 274School Closures:
- All Schools along Road 427(School Road) Oakhurst