Tuolumne County, CA — The Rim fire grows by 365 acres. It is now 252,521 acres and 80% contained. Firefighters on the scene have dropped to 3,312 while the cost has climbed to $93.5 million dollars.
Fire Officials say winds fueled the flames deeper into the Emigrant Wilderness and Yosemite National Park today accounting for most of the acreage increase.
Incident Command released these details on how crews fought the flames today and their strategy for tonight:
Hotter and drier weather today, coupled with low fuel moistures, resulted in continued burning of vegetation within the fire area. Burning in the northwestern portion of the fire was most active well within the fire perimeter, and posed no threat to containment lines. On the northern flank, firefighters contained two spot fires below Cherry Ridge, with the aid of helicopter water drops. Crews contained another spot fire on the eastern flank. Winds pushed the fire deeper into the Emigrant Wilderness and Yosemite National Park, north of Eleanor Lake.
Southwest winds tonight will again test containment lines, especially in recently burned out areas on the eastern flank. Firefighters are conducting limited burning operations from hand-lines and natural barriers along the Tioga Road. Mop-up and hazard tree mitigation also continued as crews work to strengthen control lines. Resources implemented firing operations inside existing containment lines in order to further consume unburned fuels and strengthen containment of the northwestern portion of the fire perimeter.
Highway 120 between Groveland and Yosemite is open. Caltrans reports it fixed about 1,000 burnt guard rails and brought down 1,800 scorched trees along the roadway. Fire Officials ask motorists along the highway to use caution and avoid stopping when driving through the fire area. Also, the Air Quality Alert for Tuolumne County has been extended to Monday at Noon.
Highway 120/Tioga Road remains closed from Crane Flat to one half mile east of White Wolf. Park visitors can access Tuolumne Meadows from SR-395 via the park entrance at Tioga Pass. Cherry Lake Road is closed at State Route 120. Evergreen Road and Old Yosemite Road are also closed. There are no mandatory or advisory evacuations in Mariposa or Tuolumne Counties, but some secondary roads remain closed to non-residents within the fire area.
Fire Officials are still estimating that the fire will be fully contained on September 20th. Thursday it was announced that the Rim Fire was started by a hunter that allowed an illegal fire to get out of control. The Rim Fire is now the third largest fire in California’s recorded history passing the 2007 Zaca Fire in Santa Barbara County by just over 6-thousand acres. The fire that burned the most acreage in California on record was the Cedar Fire in San Diego County with a total of 273,246 acres.