California’s Record Fire Season Update
It is a record-setting year for wildfires in California. Among 3 major blazes, 1 threatened Yosemite National Park and another became the largest in state history.
The Ferguson Fire was centered near Yosemite, which reopened Tuesday, welcome news in a state that generates $132-B in travel spending.
Following are updates on three major fires near popular tourist areas. Because conditions continue to change, visitors can check the fire map, which is frequently updated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as CalFire, for information including road closures.
The Ferguson Fire
Tuesday, Yosemite reopened its tourist hub, Yosemite Valley, where two famed rock formations, Half Dome and El Capitan, are visible. In the south end of the park, the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees reopened Monday.
Lodging in the park also reopened, though the Victorian-era Big Trees Lodge near the Mariposa Grove will remain closed until 30 August. The company that manages the hotel, has stated that anyone with a reservation during the closure will have their deposit refunded.
Authorities expect the forest to continue to smolder, creating lingering smoke. The federally run Wildfire Air Quality Response Program forecasts moderate conditions for most of the park except for Yosemite Village. There, air quality is rated as between moderate and unhealthy, according to the site.
It recommends that sensitive travelers reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.
The Carr Fire
This fires was 67% contained as of Wednesday, the Carr Fire near Redding in northern Shasta County covers over 207,000 acres, including sections of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. In addition to many homes, it burned Whiskeytown National Recreation Area on Whiskeytown Lake, which is now closed indefinitely.
CalFire has not predicted a containment date.
The Ranch Fire
The largest fire in state history, according to CalFire, the Ranch fire in northern Mendocino, Lake and Colusa counties covers over 314,000 acres, most of it in Mendocino National Forest. It is 64 percent contained and still threatening Lake Pillsbury, where residents have been evacuated. Together with the smaller, fully contained River Fire nearby, it is also known as the Mendocino Complex fire, now nearly 364,000 acres.
Much of the fire is in Lake County, home to Clear Lake, a popular bass-fishing destination and the largest natural lake in the state (the larger Lake Tahoe is shared with Nevada). About 110 miles northeast of San Francisco, it is a popular destination for boating, fishing and an emerging wine industry distinguished by sauvignon blanc.
The smoke outlook for much of the area remains moderate.
Cal Fire predicts full containment of the Ranch Fire by 1 September.