Thousands of homes sit helpless in the tranquil throes of nature as Yosemite braces under the thumb of the raging Rim Fire that is heading towards the area’s northwest side.
Flames have already engulfed 203 miles of forest since Aug 17 with firefighters only having 7 percent of the fire contained.
The park’s deep canyons and rough terrain are making areas inaccessible causing difficulty for firefighters in containing the blaze.
In addition to the inaccessibility to some areas because of the fire’s heated intensity it’s nearly impossible for the fire service to predict which direction the raging blaze will travel. Due to extreme summer dryness in the area, the fire has taken on a life of its own and is creating it’s own weather configuration.
Winds between 30 to 40 miles per hour are expected to hit the area on Sunday, which will push the flames further north.
The towns of Tuolumne City, Twain Harte and Long Barne have not yet been evacuated, but pose immediate danger. All residents have been alerted to the potential of an evacuation.
The blaze has the potential to affect some 4,500 buildings. As of now, the raging flames have consumed 26 structures while the remaining wait helplessly under Fire Rim’s destructive thumb.
The Rim Fire is now 26-miles from Yosemite’s entrance. Resident Jessica Sanderson whose cabin succumbed to the flames confirmed this information when her neighbor saw fireman fighting the blaze consuming her vacation home. The only structure left standing upright on her property is her barbeque pit.
Also affected by the inferno are two separate groves of sequoia, which are causing park officials to take extreme care in clearing the brush surrounding the trees. Several dozen trees have already been affected by Fire Rim’s rage.
Not to discount the destruction to other trees and vegetation in the area, but the in Yosemite the sequoia are very unique. Only in the Sierra Nevada area do these monstrosities grow. The sequoia are the most ancient and towering tree in the world and one of Yosemite’s most majestic symbols.
The Rim Fire started in a remote part of the Stanislaus National Forest. Because of the dryness of the canyon, the parched brushwood is rapidly igniting. 2,600 firefighters and six planes are fighting the blaze, which is quickly engulfing everything in its path.
As of this report, Yosemite Valley a major tourist attraction has been able to keep its distance from the fire, which is burning 26-miles. So far, the area is clear of smoke and still opened to the public.
Along with the environment and the residents experiencing mother nature’s wrath, San Francisco is also being affected. The Rim Fire is headed toward Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. San Francisco General Hospital, International Airport and public buildings pull 85 percent of their water and power from this basin.
San Francisco’s governor due to the fire threat has declared a State of Emergency. Two stations that are fed by the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir have been shutdown along with 12-miles of power lines.
The raging Rim Fire is not only placing its engulfing thumb along the Yosemite area is affecting the San Francisco community as well.
Written by Lisa Graziano