Deadly Fire Near Yosemite Doubles in Size, Could “Become a Major Threat” to the Park

The Ferguson Fire started just west of Yosemite National Park on Friday, July 13th and continues to grow rapidly, posing a legitimate threat to the park.

As firefighters continued to attempt to contain the blaze overnight, serious fire conditions took ahold of the area, doubling the fire in size and growing it to nearly 10,000 acres. John DeYoe, spokesman for officials working on the fire, said a “massive order” of firefighters and engines were rolling in on Monday.

The fire has already proved deadly. Firefighter Braden Varney, of Mariposa, was operating a bulldozer, trying to build a firebreak to help stop the blaze, when it rolled over on him, killing him. 36-year-old Varney leaves behind a wife and two small children.

The fire sits at only 2 percent containment and could begin to make its way into areas of the beloved Yosemite National Park. The Yosemite Cedar Lodge, which is usually full with park visitors this time of year, has been evacuated. More communities are being warned that mandatory evacuations are coming soon “so get your stuff ready,” DeYoe said.

UCLA climatologist Daniel Swain warns that the fire is “likely to burn for many days and may eventually become a major threat” to the park. “Fire is burning in area of extensive drought/beetle-related tree mortality, and there is a long period of hot weather to come.”

Pacific Gas and Electric has de-energized its powerlines in the area, making electricity inaccessible in the Yosemite, El Portal and Foresta regions.

Even though the1,200 square-mile park remains open, visitors have to deal with the huge blanket of smoke covering the area. “Visitors who are sensitive to smoke should plan to limit any strenuous outdoor activities or plan to visit the park another time,” the park said on Twitter.

We hope that firefighters catch some luck and receive some decent conditions to get some control. But most of all, we hope all stay safe in the area.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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