Tags: yosemite | fire | update | burned

Yosemite Fire Update: 300 Workers Battle 5-Percent-Contained Blaze

Image: Yosemite Fire Update: 300 Workers Battle 5-Percent-Contained Blaze
In this September 9 2014 shows fires burning near Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California. (National Park Service/EPA/Landov)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 10:20 AM

The Yosemite fire has now burned nearly 4,500 acres as more than 300 crew members and eight aircrafts continue to battle the blaze, officials said in an update on the national park's website Tuesday.

The blaze, which has actually been burning for weeks, reignited over the weekend, forcing the evacuation of roughly 100 hikers by helicopter from the park, spokesperson Kari Cobb told KQED.com. It is currently 5 percent contained.

Some of Sunday's evacuees included hikers who had climbed the park's Half Dome peak while others were airlifted from campgrounds and hiking trails in the area.

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"In order to maintain the safety of park visitors and allow fire management operations to continue unimpeded, the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park is designating a portion of Yosemite Wilderness as closed," the park announced in the update. "The area will be closed until further notice is given."

The closed areas of the park include the Little Yosemite Valley; the John Muir Trail between Little Yosemite Valley and Long Meadow; all routes on Half Dome including the Cables, NW Regular Route, and Snake Dike; Sunrise and Merced Lake High Sierra Camps and backpackers' camps; the Sunrise Trail south of the Tenaya Lake Trail junction; and Clouds Rest, Sunrise Lakes, Emeric Lake, and Babcock Lake.

Yosemite National Park ecologist Gus Smith told the San Francisco Chronicle that the park's original fire had been burning "harmlessly" near the rim of the Merced River Canyon when a second fire unexpectedly sparked Sunday afternoon in Little Yosemite Valley.

"We're not 100 percent certain what happened yesterday," Smith said Monday. "It could have been a camper or a spot fire from this fire."

Park officials said the new fire this past weekend forced them to go from passive management to active suppression mode, employing helicopter air tankers and an air attack plane while bringing in additional park firefighters.

"This is all a part of our policy to try to manage the forest in as natural a way as possible," Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman told the Chronicle. "Any time you are dealing with fire in a wilderness area, there are a lot of factors and you can't control 100 percent. Believe me, the health and safety of the visitors is the highest priority."

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The Yosemite fire has now burned nearly 4,500 acres as more than 300 crew members and eight aircrafts continue to battle the blaze, officials said in an update on the national park's website Tuesday.
yosemite, fire, update, burned
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2014-20-10
Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 10:20 AM
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