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

President Obama said Wednesday that the extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in "cowardly acts of violence" and "has no place in the 21st century."

President Obama Says Militants Who Beheaded American Are ‘Cowardly’

The extremist group that carried out the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley engages in “cowardly acts” and “has no place in the 21st century,” President Obama said Wednesday.


Hamas Military Chief Reportedly Targeted As Gaza Violence Resumes

Israel says more than 70 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, and that it carried out at least 60 airstrikes in response.


Protesters walk in front of a line of police as authorities try to disperse a demonstration in Ferguson, Mo. early Wednesday. The St. Louis suburb saw less violence than recent nights of protests.

A ‘Different Dynamic’ In Ferguson, But With 47 Arrests

Tear gas and Molotov cocktails were absent in Ferguson last night, as protesters and police avoided clashes that have marred demonstrations over an unarmed teen’s death in the St. Louis suburb.


Book News: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Memoir To Be Published

Also: Poet Simin Behbahani, known as the “Lioness of Iran,” has died; novelist Lev Grossman on finding his vocation.


James Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in September 2012.

U.S. Authenticates Video Of Militants Beheading American Journalist

A video in which the extremist group the Islamic State claims to execute American journalist James Foley is authentic, according to U.S. intelligence analysts. Foley was abducted in Syria in 2012.


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