Flyover tour of Ferguson Fire at Yosemite National Park

Take a simulated flight over the 89,000-acre wildfire

Above: screenshot from the video.

This is a flyover virtual tour of the Ferguson Fire burning in and near Yosemite National Park in California. The red line was the perimeter at 12:15 a.m. PDT August 5, 2018. The red shaded areas were intense heat at that time. The blue line is the location of the huge Rim Fire of 2013. The green line is the boundary between Yosemite National Park and U.S. Forest Service managed land. Recorded by WildfireToday.com August 5, 2018.

The fire has burned over 89,000 acres in Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest, and Stanislaus National Forest. On the north edge it has burned into the footprint of the Rim Fire that blackened 257,000 acres in 2013.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Ferguson Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)

California fires as seen from the Space Station

Astronaut Alexander Gerst tweeted these photos on August 3 of the wildfires in California, apparently taken from the International Space Station. He didn’t specify the date, but presumably they are very recent.

I’m not positive, but I think the photo that has multiple fires includes, from bottom to top (south to north), the Ferguson Fire at Yosemite National Park, the Mendocino Complex east of Ukiah, and the Carr Fire at Redding. The smoke farther north could be the Natchez Fire and blazes in Oregon.  The other photo is most likely the Ferguson Fire.

Click on the images twice to see larger versions.

Ferguson Fire spreads across Highway 41, moves deeper into Yosemite

The fire is well established on the east side of Highway 41 and has crossed Glacier Point Road

(UPDATED at 5:20 a.m. PDT August 4, 2018)

map Ferguson Fire
Map showing the perimeter of the Ferguson Fire at 1:30 a.m. PDT August 4, 2018. The red shaded areas represent intense heat at that time. The blue line at the top is the 2013 Rim Fire. Click to enlarge.

These two maps of the Ferguson Fire at Yosemite National Park in California include the latest perimeter data collected by a fixed wing aircraft at 1:30 a.m. PDT August 4, 2018.

Friday afternoon the fire spotted across two highways running for almost a mile in both places — east of Highway 41 at Glacier Point Road, and across Highway 140 below Foresta. The slop over across 41 was approximately 200 acres at 1:30 a.m. PDT on Saturday. About half of that crossed over Glacier Point Road.

map Ferguson Fire
Map showing the northeast perimeter of the Ferguson Fire at 1:30 a.m. PDT August 4, 2018. The red shaded areas represent intense heat at that time. Click to enlarge.

Below is an excerpt from a Friday evening update by the incident management team:

The Ferguson Fire grew by 3,647 acres throughout the day and was at 77,207 acres as of 6 p.m. Containment is at 41 percent. Firefighters worked throughout the day on a spot fire that jumped the Merced River early this morning and is burning in the Crane Creek drainage southwest of Foresta. Aircraft dropped water and retardant in support of firefighters.

Bulldozers and hand crews built containment lines between the fire and Foresta. Engines and crews remained in Foresta for structure protection. While Yosemite Valley was not in imminent danger, dangerous road conditions, smoke and a loss of power prompted Yosemite National Park officials to evacuate the area until further notice.

Later in the afternoon, another spot fire emerged west of Wawona Road (Highway 41) and began advancing toward Badger Pass. Evacuations were issued along Highway 140 out of concern that shifting winds overnight could bring the fire back into the communities.

On the north side of the fire, crews completed tactical firing along Pilot Ridge on the Mariposa-Tuolumne county line. They will perform firing operations south along the 13 Road as weather allows to fully contain the fire’s northern perimeter.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Ferguson Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.)


(UPDATED at 7:17 p.m. PDT August 3, 2018)

map Ferguson Fire
The satellite heat sensing data from 2:43 p.m. PDT August 3, 2018, represented by the red dots, can be seen in the map above.

The satellite heat sensing data from 2:43 p.m. PDT August 3, 2018, represented by the red dots, can be seen in the map above. It shows heat where the Ferguson Fire, at Yosemite National Park in California, crossed Highway 41 near Glacier Point Road, and Highway 140 south and southeast of Foresta.

We hope to have an updated map Saturday morning. Continue reading “Ferguson Fire spreads across Highway 41, moves deeper into Yosemite”

Firefighter killed on Ferguson Fire identified

The National Park Service has identified the firefighter who was killed Sunday morning July 29 while battling the Ferguson Fire on the Sierra National Forest in California west of Yosemite National Park. It was Captain Brian Hughes of the Arrowhead Hotshots.

The incident occurred just before 9:30 a.m.  Captain Hughes and his crew were engaged in a tactical firing operation on the east side of the fire. In  an area with a large amount of tree mortality, he was struck by a falling tree. Captain Hughes was treated at the scene, but passed away before he could be transported to a hospital.

Captain Brian Hughes
Captain Brian Hughes. Photo courtesy of Brad Torchia.

A second firefighter killed on the Ferguson Fire

Another firefighter has been killed while working on the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park in California.

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Sunday morning July 29 while battling the Ferguson Fire on the Sierra National Forest, a Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park firefighter suffered a fatal injury.

The incident occurred just before 9:30 a.m. At the time, the firefighter and his crew were engaged in a tactical firing operation on the east side of the fire. They were operating in an area with a large amount of tree mortality. The firefighter was struck by a tree. He was treated on scene, but passed away before he could be transported to a hospital.

“The team at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is devastated by this terrible news,” says Park Superintendent Woody Smeck in a statement released July 29. “Our deepest condolences go out to the firefighter’s family and loved ones. We grieve this loss with you.”

Further public information will be made available once the firefighter’s family has been notified.

The firefighter was escorted to the Stanislaus County Coroner’s office in Modesto, Calif., Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

The Ferguson Fire has burned over 54,000 acres since it started July 13, 2018.

Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was killed July 14, when his dozer rolled in steep terrain on the Ferguson Fire.

On July 26 two firefighters were entrapped and killed by the Carr Fire near Redding, California.

Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of all four of these firefighters.

Ferguson Fire slowed Tuesday by inversion

The fire has burned over 37,000 acres

Hot shot crew Ferguson Fire firefighters
Bear Divide Hot Shots on the Ferguson Fire. Kari Greer photo taken around July 23, 2018.

One of the primary factors affecting the spread of the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park in California is the weather — specifically, the inversions that have been trapping the smoke and partially blocking the sun. Since the fire started July 13 these inversions have been a frequent occurrence. They usually break up in the afternoon, allowing the intensity and rate of spread of the fire to increase. On Tuesday this weather phenomenon again kept the fire from making any big runs, allowing only another 1,693 acres to burn, bringing the total up to 37,795 acres.

Air Tanker 118 HC_130H Ferguson Fire
While following a lead plane, Tanker 118, an HC-130H, begins a retardant drop on the Ferguson Fire. Kari Greer photo taken around July 23, 2018.

Information from the Incident Management Team Tuesday night:

“North of the Merced River on the Stanislaus National Forest, firefighters constructed indirect containment lines up Soapstone Ridge, opening old roads near the burn scar of the 2013 Rim Fire. Crews strengthened and improved containment lines east toward Eagle Peak and down to El Portal.

“Along the eastern edge of the fire, crews were successful initiating strategic firing operations to remove unburned vegetation between containment lines and the fire. Crews also evaluated structures for defensible space.

“South of the Merced River on the Sierra National Forest, containment lines were secured from Jerseydale across to Wawona Campground. Crews will continue planning strategic firing operations to help build a wider buffer to stop the fire’s spread.

“Yosemite National Park closure: Yosemite National Park officials announced closures to the Yosemite Valley and Wawona areas, as well as the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, effective noon on Wednesday, July 25. ”

Hot shot crew Ferguson Fire firefighters
Sierra Hot Shots on the Ferguson Fire. Kari Greer photo taken around July 23, 2018.