This is Day 16 of the Ferguson Fire, more updates are here.
Update at 7pm: There was a lot of drift smoke in the Mother Lode today as officials used fire to fight fire on the Ferguson incident. Back-burning was carried out on three sides of the fire today. The fire grew by an estimated 2,052 acres. It is currently 30-percent contained and 51,671 acres. The areas of Yosemite National Park currently closed are projected to open by August 3.
Update at 9:15 a.m.: Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, Incident Command estimates containment of the Ferguson Fire will be less than three weeks.
The projected date given is August 15th, a sign that fire officials believe crews are making progress on the blaze even with another nearly 3,000 acres scorched overnight. The total acreage this morning stands at 49,619 and the containment remains at 29-percent. Fire officials detail that one area of concern remains a three to five acres fire that jumped the line yesterday afternoon due to swirling winds nearly two miles southwest of El Portal on the northeast perimeter. Crews were only able to monitor that blaze due to low nighttime visibility and dense fuels, according to Incident Command, which plans to attack those flames today.
Incident Command spokesperson Jacob Welsh details the ongoing strategy to suppress the fire, “We do have indirect lines in but they are not secure. These lines are going to serve as a means of burning out to keep this main fire in check.” He adds, “Essentially when completed this big box [of containment lines] will go from the lush meadows area to the east to Wawona through a series of roads, dozer and hand lines. It will follow Highway 41 up north just a little bit south of Yosemite West and we have a dozer and hand line system that will bring it all the way down to El Portal.”
Welsh updates that existing lines and roads in the burn scar areas of the 2013 Rim Fire and those between the 2017 Empire and South Fork Fires continue to be utilized for fire suppression.
Additional details on a lifted evacuation and the extension of the Yosemite Valley and Wawona closures in Yosemite National Park area below.
Original post at 6:30 a.m.: Mariposa County, CA — The Ferguson Fire’s acreage jumped by nearly 3,000 acres overnight and has almost reached the 50,000 acre mark this morning while the containment remains at 29-percent. Residents in the Lushmeadows Subdivision were able to return to their homes last night as their evacuation order was lifted at 8 p.m., but it remains under an advisory evacuation. The only entry into the area is at the intersection of Triangle and Darrah roads. Only residents with identification or proof of residency are being allowed into the area.
As reported here last night, Yosemite National Park officials extended the closure of the Yosemite Valley by five days to Friday, August 3rd at 4 p.m. Meanwhile there is no date slated for the Wawona area. Both had been scheduled to reopen on Sunday. Wawona Road and Highway 41 from the park’s south entrance to Tunnel View and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will remain closed until further notice.
Incident Command confirms that one non-residential building has been destroyed and 5,245 remain threatened. Resources on scene include 3,898, 282 engines, 46 water tenders, 16 helicopters, 92 crews and 81 dozers.