Nation & World News

Yosemite Fire Called One Of Largest In Recent California History

By Scott Neuman on August 26th, 2013

A wildfire that has spread into Yosemite National Park is now threatening the power grid that supplies San Francisco, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare an emergency for the city.

The 200-square-mile Rim Fire also threatens thousands of homes and has forced the evacuations of hundreds.

Bob Hensley, reporting for NPR, says that in issuing the state of emergency for the city of San Francisco and San Francisco County late Friday, Brown indicated the wildfire has damaged the electrical infrastructure that provides power to the Bay Area 150 miles to the west.

Brown said Bay Area utility officials have had to shut down transmission lines and that so far, the city has been able to keep the power on, even though further disruptions could change that.

He said the city’s water supply could also be affected by the fire.

The Associated Press says San Francisco gets 85 percent of its water from the Yosemite-area Hetch Hetchy reservoir that is about 4 miles from the fire.

Meanwhile, the fire has been spreading for nearly a week and only a small fraction of it has been contained.

Although much of the park remains open, the AP reports that the fire has:

“… established at least a foothold in Yosemite, with at least 17 of its 196 square miles burning inside the park’s broad borders, in a remote area near Lake Eleanor where backpackers seek summer solace.”

The U.S. Forest Service says the fire is threatening about 5,500 homes and had already destroyed four homes and 12 outbuildings in several different areas.

The San Jose Mercury News quotes Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant as saying about 2,700 firefighters were working the Rim Fire. Berlant said the rugged terrain has made it difficult to contain the blaze.

“‘And now the fire has grown to a size and intensity where it’s creating its own wind and weather,’ Berlant said. As of Friday evening, it was only 5 percent contained, but that was up from 2 percent earlier in the day.”

The AP says:

“Officials issued voluntary evacuation advisories for two new towns — Tuolumne City, population 1,800, and Ponderosa Hills, a community of several hundred — which are about five miles from the fire line, Forest Service spokesman Jerry Snyder said.

A mandatory evacuation order remained in effect for part of Pine Mountain Lake, a summer gated community a few miles from the fire.”

(Updated 9:50 p.m. ET)

The Los Angeles Times reports that firefighters on Saturday were able to decrease the risk to San Francisco’s water and power systems.

“Firefighters were able to gain containment of an area Saturday near the Hetch Hetchy water and power system, which supplies electricity and water for San Francisco. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been forced to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations because of the fire.”

But the Times also called the fire “one of the largest wildfires in recent California history,” and said it had burned more than 125,000 acres.

“The fast-moving Rim fire has doubled in size since Thursday night and remains only 5% contained, with steep terrain, warm weather and low humidity hampering firefighting efforts. Adding to the difficulty is the blaze’s tendency to burn the tops of trees, creating a “crown fire” with long, intense flames that skip across forested land faster than a wildfire that creeps along near the ground.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

DOJ Reaches Agreement For Oversight Of Albuquerque PD

The deal follows a Justice Department report released in April that showed the city’s police used excessive force in dealing with many suspects.


Ukrainian troops camouflage their multiple rocket launcher at a checkpoint in Kryva Luka, in eastern Ukraine, earlier this month. The U.S. says Russia is planning to provide similar systems to the rebels.

U.S.: Russia-Based Artillery Targeting Ukrainian Troops

The State Department says it has evidence that Moscow is lobbing artillery across its border at Ukrainian government forces, and that the Kremlin plans to ship rocket artillery to the rebels.


Arturo, the only polar bear in Argentina, lives in captivity at a zoo in Mendoza. The plight of the "sad bear" has spawned more than 400,000 signatures on a petition to get him moved to a "better life" in Canada.

Zoo In Argentina Says ‘Sad Bear’ Too Old To Go To Canada

The plight of the nearly 30-year-old polar bear, who lost his enclosure mate two years ago, has attracted attention from well-wishers the world over who want him moved.


Barbed-wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland. The CIA ran a secret jail on Polish soil, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday.

European Court Rules Against Poland In CIA ‘Black Sites’ Case

The European Court of Human Rights said Poland broke the European human rights convention by allowing the CIA to imprison and torture two terrorism suspects in secret prisons on its soil.


An employee looks at a Russian foreign passport at the U.S.  Embassy in Moscow.

U.S. Database Glitch Delays Passport, Visa Processing

The problem in the U.S. State Department system could cause problems for millions of people worldwide who are awaiting travel documents.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments