Yosemite Fire Grows to Fourth Largest in State's History
By by Jillian MacMath, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
September 02, 2013, 3:49:27 PM EDT
The massive Rim Fire continues to burn along the edge of the popular tourist destination of Yosemite National Park.
The fire, named the Rim Fire, is burning in Tuolumne County, near Groveland along Highway 120. It has consumed more than 228,000 acres since its start on Aug. 17. CAL FIRE's Department Information Officer Daniel Berlant stated on Twitter that the fire is now the fourth largest in California's recorded history. The Rim Fire is behind only the July 2007 Zaca Fire, the August 2012 Rush Fire and the October 2003 Cedar Fire in terms of acres destroyed. It has topped more structures burned than either the Rush or Zaca fires.
The Cedar, the state's largest, was in San Diego County andleft 14 people dead, more than 2,800 structures destroyed and more than 228,670 acres consumed.
The Rim Fire is also the largest U.S. fire so far in 2013, according to the Incident Information System, a governmental website. It still has extreme growth potential.
Nearly 4,600 personnel are working to battle the blaze that was 60 percent contained as of Monday afternoon. The cause remains under investigation.
A mandatory evacuation notice was issued Friday night for areas north and south of Bull Creek Road to Little Grizzly Mountain but was lifted Saturday afternoon.
As visitors began to inquire about closures, visibility and conditions on Facebook, the National Park Service has issued several posts and created a website with more information for visitors.
"Most of Yosemite National Park is not affected by the fire. The smoke has mostly remained north of Yosemite Valley, but changing winds have brought some haze and smoke to Yosemite Valley," the website read on Aug. 30.
As extinguishing efforts continue, the city of San Francisco declared a local State of Emergency to assist firefighting coordination.
More than 2.6 million people in the Bay Area receive water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite.
“This declaration will help San Francisco increase coordination and manage resources being deployed to support our local, federal and state partners who are fighting this fire,” San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a press release.
According to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission website, water quality is not being affected by the Rim Fire and water delivery is not being interrupted.
As a precautionary measure, the website stated that the amount of water delivery to the Bay Area was increased from 292 million gallons a day to 302 million gallons a day. That will maximize the amount of water stored locally.
While the majority of the activity occurs to the south, a thunderstorm erupting in the vicinity of the Rim Fire cannot be ruled out during Tuesday afternoon.
Any rainfall would be beneficial, but the lightning and gusty winds accompanying any thunderstorm could hinder firefighting efforts.
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