Yosemite fire uncontained as sprinklers protect historic sequoias : A massive fire broke out in California’s Sierra Nevada on Sunday, with sprinklers deployed to protect Mariposa Grove’s cherished giant sequoia trees.
US Forest Service officials said Sunday that the fire measured 1,591 acres in Yosemite National Park had no control, and was likely to expand amid light winds and warm conditions. Yosemite National Park superintendent Sisley Muldoonie said on Sunday that the lovely trees were not wrapped in fire extinguisher foil, as was reported.
Instead, park officials have turned to portable sprinklers to protect the more than 500 sequoias that hold a unique place in American history. According to the Park Service, President Abraham Lincoln set aside the grove along Yosemite Valley for “public use, resort and recreation” in 1864.
This was the first time that the government had ordered to preserve natural areas for public benefit. More than 150 years later, experts are working to save them. “They’re using a combination of extracting fuel around the base of the trees, and they’re putting sprinklers to replace the moisture around the base of the trees,” says J. C. Nichols, spokesman for the Interagency Fire Response Team at Park .
Nevertheless, the fire, which has been burning since July 7, and formally known as the Washburn Fire, has damaged some trees that can be seen from the ground. But so far no one is taking the name of the fall.
The National Weather Service measured temperatures in Mariposa, California, about 167 miles east of San Francisco on Sunday afternoon. Similar temperatures were expected in the beginning of the week as well. Officials said the abundant fuel has brought down the summer temperatures.
Yosemite National Park biologist Garrett Dickman summed up the problem in simple terms: “There’s a lot of wood on the ground, and that wood is going up in smoke.” Wood on the ground includes dead trees and branches from 2013 to 2015. Die. According to the Federal Incident Overview, “it also presents significant safety hazards for firefighters” who may have to walk through unstable grounds and look out for fallen trees and branches.
The grove was closed to visitors on Sunday and is unlikely to reopen as long as the risk of fire remains. Park officials said the shutdown covers the Wawona area and Wawona Road south of Yosemite West. The south entrance to the park was also closed. The rest of Yosemite was open, but a permit was required for peak-hour driving in the park.
Residents of the Wawona area were subject to mandatory evacuation orders. Park visitor Kara Exten was asked to evacuate, an order she indicated made complete sense. “By the time we landed in Yosemite Valley, ashes were raining down on us,” she said.
Federal crews, meanwhile, were in Mariposa Grove to install and operate the sprinklers, which Nichols explained were just like many Americans have at home, “except for the big ones.
” The crew paid special attention to the 209-foot Grizzly Giant, the second tallest sequoia in the grove, making sure that the spray from the sprinkler reaches the area of its base. The Grove’s other stars, California Tunnel Tree, The Bachelor and Three Graces, and Fallen Monarch, were not yet complete.