California: Rim Fire at Yosemite NP

Rim Fire

(UPDATE at 9:45 a.m. PDT, September 10, 2012)

Horseshoe Meadows Hotshots Rim Fire
A crewmember of the Horseshoe Meadows Hotshots, on the Rim Fire, September 2, 2013. USFS Photo by Mike McMillan.

Firefighters have made some progress on the Rim Fire since our last update on September 4. As you can see in the map below, the fire has grown very little in the last six days, and most of the change in the fire perimeter is most likely a result of firefighters burning out the vegetation ahead of the fire.

Map of Rim Fire
Map of the Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 1 a.m. PDT, September 10, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. PDT, September 3, 2013. The western boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

The fire has burned 254,685 acres and the incident commander is calling it 80 percent contained. Over 3,000 personnel are assigned to the incident, down from more than 5,000 a week or so ago. Over the last 24 days since it started, the costs for suppressing the fire has grown to $100.4 million.


(UPDATE at 6:50 a.m. PDT, September 4, 2013)

Rim Fire burnout
Rim Fire burnout, September 1, 2013. Photo by Mike McMillan.

As shown in the map below, the spread of the Rim Fire has slowed considerably over the last several days. Most of the acreage increases are a result of burnout operations out ahead of the fire, sometimes miles from the fire’s edge, in order to remove the fuel, eventually stopping the spread. The west and southwest sides of the fire have been very quiet for a few days. The only significant movement of the fire which may not be related to burnouts are on the east side, with most of it being in the Cherry Lake area. On the southeast flank firefighters have selected Highway 120/Tioga Road as their fireline and are burning out along the north side.

The fire has burned 237,341 acres and the incident commander is calling it 80 percent contained. Another 3,000 acres and it becomes the third largest fire in California history.

Map of Rim Fire
Map of Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. PDT, September 3, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter about 48 hours before. The red squares represent heat detected by a satellite at 10:40 p.m. PDT September 3, 2013. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

The strategy and tactics employed by the firefighters appear to be working. Instead of choosing the NEXT ridge for a fireline or burnout, they are selecting the BEST ridge, or sometimes a road, as the place to make their stand. This gives them enough time to execute what can be a miles-long burnout operation, and allows them some flexibility to conduct it at a time when the weather is favorable. These tactics have been used successfully on some very large fires on the Los Padres National Forest, including the Whitewater-Baldy, Basin Complex, Indians, Iron Alps, and Zaca fires.

There are currently no mandatory or advisory evacuation orders effective in Mariposa County. The evacuation advisory has been lifted for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest. Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows remains under evacuation.

Briefing at Rim Fire
Briefing at Rim Fire, September 2, 2013. Photo by Mike McMillan.




(UPDATE at 9:30 a.m. PDT, September 2, 2013)

Silver State Hotshots Rim Fire
Silver State Hotshots conduct a firing operation on the Rim Fire, August 30, 2013. USFS Photo by Mike McMillan.

Firefighters on the Rim Fire continue to make progress on the containment of the fire with line construction and large burnout operations, but the fire on Sunday was active on the south and southeast sides. The west side has been quiet for a few days.

The map of the Rim Fire below shows the fire perimeter at 9 p.m. PDT, on Sunday night. Over the last 24 hours the fire grew by about 6,000 acres to bring the total to 228,670 acres (357 square miles).

Map of the Rim Fire
Map of the Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 8 p.m. PDT, September 1, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter two days earlier. The western boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

The weather forecast for the north side of the Rim Fire for Monday calls for 76 degrees, a surprisingly high 38 percent relative humidity, 16 percent chance of rain, 58 percent cloud cover, and winds out of the south at 9 mph shifting to the southwest. Tuesday’s forecast is about the same. The actual weather conditions can be monitored at the Smith Peak weather station.


(UPDATE at 10:18 a.m. PDT, September 1, 2013)

Yosemite Valley's Half Dome obscured by smoke
Yosemite Valley’s Half Dome, normally seen in this view, was obscured by smoke at 8:36 a.m. September 1, 2013

On Saturday the Rim Fire continued to grow, adding another 3,000 acres to become at 222,77 acres the fourth largest fire in California history. Winds that shifted to come out of the west over the last two days have blown smoke into downtown Yosemite National Park, into the heavily visited Yosemite Valley. Compare these two photos of the valley; the one above was taken Sunday morning by a web cam, and the photo below we took on a day when the air was much cleaner.

Yosemite Valley January, 1997
Yosemite Valley January, 1997, a few days after a flood caused major damage to National Park Service facilities in the valley. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The 5,115 personnel assigned to the fire are fighting it by constructing direct fireline along the fire’s edge, and by indirect methods including burning out the fuel ahead of the fire. The smoke has limited the use of air tankers and helicopters for the last two days.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the fire may have been caused by activities at an illegal marijuana farm.

“We don’t know the exact cause,” Todd McNeal, fire chief in Twain Harte, a town that has been in the path of the flames, said on Friday. But he told a community meeting that it was “highly suspect that there might have been some sort of illicit grove, a marijuana-grow-type thing.”

“We know it’s human caused. There was no lightning in the area,” he said.


(UPDATE at 7:15 a.m. PDT, August 31, 2013)

Monterey Hotshots on the Rim Fire
Monterey Hotshots on the Rim Fire, August 29, 2013. Photo by Mike McMillan.

Firefighters are making significant progress on the Rim Fire that burned from California’s Stanislaus National Forest into Yosemite National Park. A satellite that passed over the fire at 1:18 a.m. Saturday detected no large heat sources on the west side of the fire, as you can see in the map of the fire below. A great deal of heat was found on the southeast side where firefighters are engaged in burnout operations to remove fuel ahead of the fire.

Map of Rim Fire at 1:18 a.m. PDT August 31, 2013
Map of Rim Fire. The red squares represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:18 a.m. August 31. The red line was the perimeter at 9 pm PDT, August 30, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter about 24 hours before. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

Smoke over the fire on Friday kept the air tankers working out of Fresno air attack base grounded for most of the day.

Mapping shows that 219,277 acres have been blackened by the fire, and the incident commander is calling it 35 percent contained. As sections of the fire become contained, some firefighters have been released. The total number of personnel assigned to the fire decreased Friday from 4,931 to 4,844, which is still a huge army of firefighters.

Friday night the incident management team issued this evacuation update:

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office has issued a mandatory evacuation for the areas north and south of Bull Creek Road to Little Grizzly Mountain. Effective 10:30 P.M. August 30. For more information please contact the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office at: 209-966-3311.


(UPDATE at 7 p.m. PDT, August 30, 2013)

The Rim Fire in and near Yosemite National Park in California has now burned 213,414 acres (333 square miles). The number of destroyed structures remains at 111 —  11 residences, 3 commercial structures, and 97 outbuildings. It is being fought by 4,931 firefighters.

If the fire grows larger than the 220,000-acre Matilija Fire that burned near Ventura in 1932, it will become the fourth largest fire in California history. That almost certainly will occur either Saturday or Sunday.

Today firefighters were engaged in several burning operations to remove fuel ahead of the fire. They worked at Pilot Ridge, Pilot Peak and Crocker Ridge on the southern portion of the fire. On the east side they burned south from Hetch Hetchy toward Harden Lake, and on the north side near Hells Mountain.


(UPDATE at 3:40 p.m. PDT, August 30, 2013)

Monterey Hotshots Rim Fire
Monterey Hotshots hold line August 29, 2013. Photo by Mike McMillan.

Some facts about the Rim Fire:

  • Acreage: 201,894
  • Largest fire in the United States to date in 2013·
  • No. 1-ranked on national firefighting priority list
  • Fifth largest fire in California history
  • Second largest U.S. fire to date in 2013: Lime Hills Fire, Alaska 201,809 acres
  • States that have sent firefighters or other personnel: 41 and the District of Columbia
  • Uncontrolled fire edge: 96.8 miles
  • Completed containment line: 65.5 miles Completed dozer line: 105.7 miles
  • Total aviation hours: 14,400
  • Water dropped: 1.4 million gallons
  • Fire retardant dropped: 1.7 million gallons
  • Proportion of the fire burning within the Stanislaus National Forest: 74.6 percent
  • Proportion of the fire burning in Yosemite National Park: 24 percent
  • Proportion of the fire burning on state and private property: 1.4
  • Proportion of the Stanislaus National Forest within the fire perimeter: 16.8 percent
  • Proportion of Yosemite National Park within the fire perimeter: 6.4 percent
  • Size of the fire area: Larger than the land area of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose combined
  • Hot meals served: Breakfasts: 15,453 Dinners: 16,049
  • Pounds of firefighter laundry washed: 9,538.75
  • Burned or damaged guard rail posts to be replaced on Highway 120: 800
  • Damaged trees adjacent to power lines to be removed by Pacific Gas and Electric: 7,000

After 14 days of fighting the Rim Fire in and near Yosemite National Park, the fire continues to spread to the north, east, and south. Firefighters are working on indirect firelines and are conducting burnout and other firing operations out ahead of the fire where they can, including south of Highway 120 north of Old Yosemite Road.

The fire has now burned 201,894 acres and the Incident Commander is calling it 32 percent contained. Their estimated containment date is September 20. A huge number of personnel, 4,931, are assigned to the fire. We can’t remember a fire that had that many people working on it.

A map of the Rim fire is below. The incident management team is now producing a variety of maps, which can be found on InciWeb when the site is working.

Map of Rim Fire at 1 a.m. PDT, August 30, 2013.
Map of Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 1 a.m. PDT, August 30, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter about 24 before. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

The IMTeam provided this update Friday morning:

Burnout operations continued overnight in the southeastern area of the fire. Fire crews continued construction of fire line along 3N01 Road to stop fire spread to the north. Structure defense continues in Pinecrest, Mi-Wuk Village, Confidence, Cold Springs, and Hodgdon Meadow and Big Oak Flat in Yosemite National Park. Today’s plans are to continue the burnout in the Yosemite National Park south of Hetch Hetchy. If conditions allow, the Duckwall Mountain north to Fahey Meadow burnout will start. Air operations will be used to support all firefighting efforts, as needed.


(UPDATE at 9:10 a.m. PDT, August 29, 2013)

Rim Fire as seen from Pilot Peak Lookout August 26. Photo by Mike McMillan.
Rim Fire as seen from Pilot Peak Lookout August 26. Photo by Mike McMillan.

The Rim Fire continued to spread Wednesday on the southeast, east and north sides, adding about 5,000 acres to bring the total up to 192,737 acres (301 square miles) to become the sixth largest fire in the recorded history of California. (See the map of the fire below.)

The fire has burned 11 residences, 3 commercial structures, and 97 outbuildings and is being fought by 4,840 firefighters.

Map of Rim Fire August 29, 2013
Map of Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 10 p.m. PDT, August 28, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter about 24 before. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

Wednesday night firefighters continued their burning operations near Duckwall Mountain and Pilot Peak and prepared for burning operations south of Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park. Burning operations are planned near Duckwall Mountain and near Old Yosemite Road on the south side of the fire. Crews will these operations as long as weather conditions allow, and on Thursday they will also construct and improve firelines and provide structure defense.

A Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been brought in by the California National Guard to monitor the fire. While being remotely piloted, it can stay aloft for up to 22 hours.


(UPDATE at 3:17 p.m. PDT, August 28, 2013)

Map of Rim Fire
The red line on the map of the Rim Fire was the perimeter of the fire at 1 a.m. August 28. The pink line was the perimeter about 24 hours earlier. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:49 p.m. August 28. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

The red line on the map above was the perimeter of the Rim Fire at 1 a.m. August 28. The pink line was the perimeter about 24 hours earlier. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:49 p.m. August 28. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green.

The map shows that the fire did not spread on Tuesday as much as it has been expanding over the last week. This may be a result of higher relative humidities and the fact that in some areas the fire is moving into areas that contain less vegetation and more granite.

In another article at Wildfire Today we have the story of a 25-person crew that was in trouble on the fire and was assisted by retardant drops from military MAFFS C-130 air tankers. And at we posted some photos of military Blackhawk and Pave Hawk helicopters that recently joined the fire fight.


(UPDATE at 7:52 a.m. PDT, August 28, 2013)

Rim Fire
Firefighters along Highway 120 on the Rim Fire. Undated USFS photo by Mike McMillan.

The number of structures burned in the Rim Fire increased to 111 (31 “primary structures” and 80 outbuildings) when the fire burned through the Tuolumne Berkeley Family Camp, where 3 commercial structures and 85 tent cabins and outbuildings were destroyed. Overnight the fire continued to expand on the north side and to the east where it spread farther into Yosemite National Park. Another 4,500 structures are threatened by the fire which has cost $33 million to suppress so far. An area south of the fire north of Old Yosemite Road (Forest Road 2S01) is under a mandatory evacuation order.

About 187,466 acres (292 square miles) in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park have been blackened by the fire, which is challenging the 4,081 firefighters by exhibiting rapid spread and extreme fire behavior. Resources assigned to the fire include 68 hand crews, 491 engines, and 17 helicopters.

Firefighters have been slowed by having to deal with spot fires while conducting burnout operations. The incident management team is using aerial resources, including the DC-10 Very Large Air Tankers and the military MAFFS, for structure defense preparation ahead of the fire, control of spot fires, and for slowing the spread of the fire through terrain inaccessible to ground resources, in order to allow time for indirect line construction to be completed. Large Type 1 helicopters are providing point protection and are cooling areas where direct line construction can be achieved safely.

The Rim Fire has become the seventh largest fire in the recorded history of the state of California.

Additional firefighting resources are being ordered as contingencies for protecting the communities of Tuolumne City, Twain Harte, and Long Barn north of the fire. East of the Highway 108 corridor firefighters are involved in contingency planning and indirect fireline preparation.

We posted an excellent virtual tour video that shows the geographical relationship of the 187,000-acre Rim Fire to Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, and some of the other landmarks in the area.


The relative humidity will not be extremely low over the next several days but on Wednesday the winds will be strong, blowing out of the southwest at 13 mph gusting up to 20 in the afternoon. At the 5,400 foot elevation the relative humidity will be 29 percent, the temperature will reach 78 degrees, and there will be a 30 percent cloud cover. Thursday will be about the same, but with the winds not quite as strong.

Road Closures

A portion of the Tioga Road, from Crane Flat to White Wolf, will be temporarily closed to all vehicular traffic beginning at noon Wednesday, August 28. This is to allow fire crews to build containment lines along the road before the blaze approaches, said Yosemite spokesman Tom Medema. Highway 120 east/Tioga Road remains open from White Wolf east to the Tioga Pass entrance. Highway 120 remains closed to all inbound and outbound Yosemite National Park traffic to Crane Flat Campground. Also closed are Graham Ranch Road, Cherry Lake at Highway 120, Evergreen Road and Old Yosemite Road. Highway 120 from Ferretti Road to Buck Meadows remains open only for local residents and business only.


(UPDATE at 12:33 p.m. PDT, August 27, 2013)

Photo of Rim Fire
Photo of the Rim Fire from the Crane Flat Helibase web cam at 12:16 p.m. PDT, August 27, 2013 (click to enlarge)


(UPDATE at 8:22 a.m. PDT, August 27, 2013)

Rim fire
Sprinklers protect the Merced and Tuolumne groves of Giant Sequoias. Incident Management Team photo.

The Rim Fire continued to grow on Monday, spreading farther into Yosemite National Park. It was also very active on the north and northwest sides, growing about a mile closer to the Mi-Wuk area on Highway 108. The fire is now about seven miles away from the highway.

An evacuation advisory was issued for a portion of the Highway 108 corridor, from Mi-Wok to Pinecrest. The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office is coordinating the advisory and any evacuations if needed in that area. We were unable to find any information about the fire or evacuations on the Sheriff’s office website, but a spokesperson for the fire’s incident management team told us that all news about evacuations will be on the team’s InciWeb web page, (when the site is up and running).

The spokesperson also told us at 9 a.m. today that the fire has burned 179,481 acres (280 square miles), which is an increase of about 30,000 acres from yesterday morning. The incident commander is calling it 20 percent contained.

Assigned to the fire are 3,752 personnel, 64 crews, 440 engines, 15 helicopters, and 60 dozers.

Map of Rim fire at 10 p.m.  PDT, August 27, 2013
Map of the Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter late in the day on August 26. The pink line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. PDT, August 26, 2013. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)


(UPDATE at 5:05 p.m. PDT, August 26, 2013)

Satellite data shows that the Rim Fire was very active on the east side at 2:02 p.m. PDT today. Quite a bit of heat was present south of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, indicating that the fire spread another mile or two farther east from the perimeter that was mapped early this morning at 2 a.m.

The satellite also recorded active fire behavior in three other areas: west of Cherry Lake, the northwest side of the fire, and the southeast side south of Highway 120.


(UPDATE at 6:40 a.m. PDT, August 26, 2013)

NPS crew at the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
National Park Service fire crew at the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias on the Rim Fire. IMT photo.

The Rim Fire continued to show additional growth Sunday in all areas except the southwest side, adding about 15,000 acres, bringing the total up to 149,780 (234 square miles). The greatest spread was to the northeast where it ran for about four miles toward Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, coming within a mile of the lake. Northwest of Cherry Lake was another area that was very active, where it ran for about three miles.

Map of Rim fire
Map of the Rim fire. The red line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. PDT, August 26, 2013. The pink line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. August 24. The boundary of Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)

Below is a video report on the fire from KCRA:


The incident management team released this announcement on InciWeb at about 3 p.m. August 25:

A Mandatory Evacuation has been issued for residences north of Old Yosemite Road (Forest Road 2S01).

An Evacuation Warning has been issued for all residences north of Bull Creek Road (Forest Road 2S02), Bondurant Mine Road, Texas Hill Road, and Wampum Hill. The Mandatory Evacuation and Evacuation Warning has been issued by the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. For more information please contact the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office at: 209-966-1133.

Locals may know where these road are. After a great deal of research, we found them as well. They are south of the fire, south of Highway 120, and west of the intersection of Tioga Road and Highway 120.


The weather forecast for the area north of the fire is about the same as Sunday — 76 degrees, 29 percent relative humidity, 2 percent chance of rain, 10 percent cloud cover, and south to southwest winds of 13 mph gusting to 20 mph. Tuesday’s forecast is about the same, but the wind will not be quite as strong.  The actual weather conditions can be monitored at the Smith Peak weather station.

Rim Fire, August 22, 2013. NASA photo.
Rim Fire, August 22, 2013. NASA photo.

Availability of information

Considering the size and scope of this fire and the number of locals affected, the incident management team is not distributing a great deal of information. The evacuation updates they provide on InciWeb are extremely brief and give few clues as to the exact location of the affected areas. We were unable find any information about evacuations on the Mariposa Sheriff’s office website, the agency that is implementing the evacuations.


(UPDATE at 6:07 a.m. PDT, August 25, 2013)

Rim Fire, August 21, 2013.
Rim Fire, August 21, 2013. Photo by Robert Martinez.

The Rim Fire continued to spread on the north and east sides Saturday, but not as much as it had been growing over the last several days. It added another 8,000 acres to bring the total to about 134,000. About 11,000 of those acres are inside Yosemite National Park.

As it moves to the east there will be more rock in its path which could slow it down. However, there is more vegetation and less rock north of the fire toward the communities of Tuolumne, which is four miles from the fire, and Twain Harte eight miles north of the fire.

Map of Rim fire at 9 m  PDT, August 24, 2013
Map of the Rim fire. The red line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. August 24. The pink line was the perimeter at 1 a.m. August 24 . The boundary of  Yosemite National Park is shown in green. (click to enlarge)


An evacuation advisory has been issued for Tuolumne City and the area east of Highway 108 to Mi-Wok Village. Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows has been evacuated. Current information about evacuations can be found at InciWeb.


Sunday’s weather forecast for the area north of the fire at a point 9 miles east-northeast of Twain Harte at 5,400 feet, includes strong southwest winds of 14 mph gusting to 21 in the afternoon. At that location the temperature should be 77 degrees, the relative humidity 26 percent, with a 10 percent cloud cover and a 1 percent chance of rain. The forecast for Monday is about the same. These conditions will be challenging for firefighters. The actual weather conditions can be monitored at the Smith Peak weather station.


(UPDATE at 8 p.m. PDT, August 24, 2013)

A 2:15 p.m. PDT today the fire was very active on the east and northeast sides, and had moved a mile or so farther into Yosemite National Park, beyond the perimeter we showed in the maps this morning. The fire was very active around Mather.

This afternoon the incident management team announced that evacuation advisories had been lifted for Pine Mountain Lake and Buck Meadows.


(UPDATE at 1 p.m. PDT, August 24, 2013)

Rim Fire map
Rim Fire overview map, August 24, 2013 (click to enlarge)

The map above shows the relationship of the Rim Fire to some of the communities in the area. For example, the towns of Twaine Harte, Mi-Wuk Village, Cold Springs, and Long Barn are eight to ten miles from the fire. The center of Groveland is about 3 miles away and Coulterville is 9 miles from the fire. Yosemite Valley is 16 miles southeast of the fire and El Portal is 12 miles from the fire.

The weather predicted for the fire area is very consistent all the way through Thursday, with 90 degrees each day, relative humidities in the mid-teens, and less than a 10 percent chance of rain. The winds during the day will be out of the southwest at 8 to 10 mph, except for Sunday afternoon when they will be about 13 mph. The actual weather conditions can be monitored at the nearby Smith Peak weather station.

This forecast is not extreme fire weather, but it is conducive to continued fire spread, and is enough to make it very difficult for firefighters to make a lot of progress, especially considering how large the fire is and their difficulty in obtaining all of the firefighting resources they need.

No federal air tankers on the first day

Speaking of a shortage of resources, during the first burning period when the fire was only on the Stanislaus National Forest, there were no federal air tankers or helicopters on the fire, just four CAL FIRE S2 air tankers and two CAL FIRE helicopters. The only federal aircraft was an Aerial Supervision Module. Since then there have been federally contracted P2V air tankers and more CAL FIRE S2s working the fire, in addition to the heavily promoted military MAFFS air tankers and the DC-10.

With more than 50 large uncontained fires in the western United States and only 11 federal contracted air tankers (and another 9 temporarily borrowed from the military and the Canadian government), it’s no wonder that a new developing fire did not receive any federal air tankers. In 2002 there were 44 large air tankers on federal exclusive use contracts.


(UPDATE at 8 a.m. PDT, August 24, 2013)

Map of Rim fire at 1 a.m.  PDT,  August 24, 2013
Map of the Rim fire. The red line was the perimeter at 1 a.m. August 24. The pink line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. August 22 . The green line is the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. (click to enlarge)

The Rim Fire continued to spread into Yosemite National Park on Friday, adding 20,000 acres, for a total of 125,620 blackened acres.

The incident management team reports that aerial resources are being effective, with the MAFFS C-130 and DC-10 air tankers prepping locations in advance of the spread towards the Highway 108 corridor. The very high potential for long-range spotting however remains a significant concern for the fire to advance beyond the retardant lines, endangering the communities of Tuolumne City, Twain Harte and Long Barn. Due to inaccessible, steep terrain and active fire behavior a combination of direct, where possible, and indirect attack is being used.

Preparations for additional Base Camps and Spike Camps are in progress to reduce the travel time of the fire suppression resources, minimizing their exposure to potential accidents. has some very interesting videos of military MAFFS C-130 airtankers dropping on the Rim fire, shot from the cockpit of the aircraft.

Rim Fire, August 22, 2013
Rim Fire, as seen from 38,000 feet. August 22, 2013. Photo by Paul Clark.


(UPDATE at 5 p.m. PDT, August 23, 2013)

Rim Fire
Rim Fire, undated InciWeb Photo

This map of the Rim Fire shows heat, represented by the red icons, detected by a satellite at 1:33 p.m. MDT, August 23, 2013. The location of the icons, which can be as much as a mile in error, indicate that the fire was very active on the south, west, and northwest sides during the middle of the day on Friday.

Map of Rim fire at 1:33 p.m.  PDT, August 23, 2013
Map of the Rim fire. The red line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. August 22. The pink line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. August 22 . The green line is the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. The red icons represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:33 p.m. PDT, August 23. (click to enlarge)

On Thursday the fire burned into Yosemite National Park in California. Some media outlets reported that the fire burned eight miles into the park, but the mapped perimeter and the satellite data indicate that it progressed only about three miles, maximum, inside the park boundary, which is the green line on the map above.

At about 3 p.m. PDT, the incident management team reported that the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation advisory for the City of Tuolumne and Ponderosa Hills. No additional information was provided.


(UPDATE at 12:11 p.m. PDT, August 23, 2013)

Rim Fire, August 21, 2013
Rim Fire, August 21, 2013. Photo by Robert Martinez.

The Rim Fire on the west side of Yosemite National Park doubled in size on Thursday as it moved about two miles inside the park. The fire has now burned 105,620 acres (165 square miles) after spreading about five miles on both the north and east sides yesterday. As you can see on the map below, it ran between Cherry Lake and Lake Eleanor and at 9 p.m. Thursday was about three miles from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

Map of Rim fire at 9 p.m.  PDT, August 22, 2013
Map of the Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 9 p.m. August 22. The pink line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. August 22 . The green line is the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. (click to enlarge)

The Blue Type 1 Incident Management Team from the Southeast Geographic Area will assume command of the Rim Fire on Friday.

The weather was a significant factor in the rapid spread of the fire Thursday. The relative humidity measured at the Smith Peak weather station was in the teens and the wind was generally out of the west at 10 to 14 mph gusting above 20 mph. The forecast for Friday calls for 90 degrees, a relative humidity in the teens, and calmer winds out of the southwest at 5 to 9 mph. The forecast for Saturday is about the same as for Friday. There is no chance of rain through Monday according to the National Weather Service.

The Incident Management Team is calling it two percent contained. They announced that 19 structures have burned but did not specify how many were residences or outbuildings. Another 2,500 structures are threatened along Ferretti Road, north of Highway 120.

Rim Fire
The Rim Fire moved past the Incident Command Post, August 21, 2013. Photo by Robert Martinez.

Yosemite National Park mostly open

For now, anyway, Yosemite National Park is open and the air in Yosemite Valley is clear, as can be seen in these web cams here, here. and here. However, Highway 120 is temporarily closed west of the park. Hetch Hetchy Road and Highway 120 from near Groveland to Big Oak Flat Entrance Station are also closed. Entrances to Yosemite via Highways 41, 140, and 120 from the east (Tioga Pass) are open. Hodgdon Meadow & Hetch Hetchy areas are closed. The Big Oak Flat Road is open within the park between Merced Grove and Yosemite Valley. While Hodgdon Meadow Campground is closed, all other campgrounds are open.


(UPDATE at 8:20 p.m. PDT, August 22, 2013)

Map of Rim fire at 2:28 p.m.  PDT, August 22, 2013
Map of the Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. August 22. The pink line was the perimeter 28 hours before that. The red squares represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:28 p.m. PDT, August 22, 2013.  The green line is the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. (click to enlarge)

The map of the Rim Fire above shows heat detected by a satellite at 2:28 p.m. PDT on Thursday showing that the fire continues to spread to the north, east, and south. From that data, the fire appears to have crossed into Yosemite National Park and is well established south of Highway 120.

Fire managers said the fire has moved into the Cherry Creek Drainage just west of North Mountain lookout and has progressed to the Quinn Ranch and Woods Ridge areas. The eastward spread is along the south side of the Tuolumne River towards the community of Mather. The fire is expected to continue up the Tuolumne River canyon.

There is an Immediate threat to the electrical power infrastructure south of the Tuolumne River and State Highway 120. Structure defense is in place for Pine Mountain Lake, San Jose Camp, and the Spinning Wheel area.


(UPDATE at 1:56 p.m. PDT, August 22, 2013)

Map of Rim fire
Map of the Rim Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. August 22. The pink line was the perimeter 28 hours before that. The red squares represent heat detected by a satellite at 11:07 a.m. PDT, August 22, 2013.  The green line is the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. (click to enlarge)

The map of the Rim Fire above shows the mapped fire perimeters from Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but it also shows heat, the red icons, detected by a satellite at 11:07 a.m. MDT today, Thursday. The location of the icons can be as much as a mile in error, but the satellite data shows the fire has continued to spread to the east and north, and has come much closer to the boundary of Yosemite National Park, which is the green line.


(UPDATE at 8:12 a.m. PDT, August 22, 2013)

Rim Fire. InciWeb photo.
Rim Fire. InciWeb photo.

The Rim Fire west of Yosemite National Park in California was very active again on Wednesday and grew by over 37,000 acres. It has now burned 53,866 acres and has come within two miles of the National Park. The additional acres came from spread on the north, east and south sides. As you can see in the map of the Rim Fire below, most of the fire is north of Highway 120 but it is also well established south of the Highway.

Map of Rim fire at 2 a.m.  PDT, August 22, 2013
Map of the Rim fire. The red line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. PDT August 22. The pink line was the perimeter 28 hours before that. The green line is the western boundary of Yosemite National Park. (click to enlarge)

Approximately 2,500 structures are threatened. Two residences and seven outbuildings burned along Packard Canyon Road.

The incident management team said the use of the military MAFFS C-130s and the DC-10 air tanker “have greatly improved suppression efforts”. Military helicopters are also being used.

Highway 120 remains closed to all traffic in and out of Yosemite National Park.

The Type 1 Team from the Southeast Geographic Area will inbrief Thursday at 9 a.m. and will shadow the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Type 2 Team until they assume command later.


An evacuation advisory has been issued for the community of Pine Mountain Lake. Communities along Ferretti Road from Highway 120 to Clements Road and Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Smith station have been evacuated. Evacuation centers are at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds and Greeley Hill Community Center.

For the most current evacuation information check InciWeb (if it is working).


There was poor relative humidity recovery Wednesday night; that is, the lowest RH recorded at the nearby Smith Peak weather station was 25 percent. The forecast for Thursday is about the same as Wednesday’s weather — 90 degrees, 10 mph winds out of the southwest, 17 percent relative humidity, zero percent chance of rain, and 8 to 17 percent cloud cover. This is not extreme fire weather, but it should contribute to significant additional fire growth.


Rim Fire
Rim Fire near the USFS Groveland Ranger Station. InciWeb photo.

The Rim Fire west of Yosemite National Park in California was extremely active Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday it grew from about 10,000 acres to 16,228 acres. At 2:46 p.m. PDT on Wednesday a satellite detected a great deal of heat on the north and east sides, indicating that it is spreading closer to Yosemite.

Map of Rim fire
Map of Rim fire at 1:46 p.m. PDT, August 21, 2013. The pink line was the fire perimeter at 9 p.m. Tuesday. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:46 p.m on Wednesday. (click to enlarge)

The map above shows the fire perimeter of the Rim Fire at 9 p.m. PDT on Tuesday. The red dots represent the heat detected by the satellite Wednesday at 2:46 p.m. It appears that the fire consumed several thousand more acres Wednesday.

The fire is within the Stanislaus National Forest, approximately 6 miles west of Yosemite NP, 5 miles east of Groveland, and 21 miles north of Mariposa. It is moving up the Tuolume River drainage and has crossed the confluence with the Clavey River.

Structure defense continues for Buck Meadows, San Jose Camp, and the Spinning Wheel area. The fire burned two residences and seven outbuildings along Packard Canyon Road Tuesday as the fire pushed eastward.

The Rim Fire is being managed by the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Type 2 Team and will transition to a Type 1 Team from the Southern Geographic Area Thursday, August 22, 2013.


For the most current evacuation information check InciWeb (if it is working).

The Incident Management Team announced at about 12:30 Wednesday, “An Advisory Evacuation for all of Pine Mountain Lake has been issued.” That was the extent of the announcement, with no more details.

Communities along Ferretti Road from Highway 120 to Clements Road, Highway 120 at Cherry Lake Road west to Smith Station, Sawmill and Spinning Wheel campgrounds and Tawonga Camp are under evacuation orders. Evacuation centers are at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora and Greeley Hill Community Center in Mariposa County.


The weather forecast for the fire area for Thursday predicts 90 degrees, a 10 mph southwest wind, relative humidity of 17 percent, and a 22 percent cloud cover. Friday should be about the same. Weather conditions can be monitored at the nearby Smith Peak weather station.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

112 thoughts on “California: Rim Fire at Yosemite NP”

  1. Hi Bill: Just wondering and wanting to understand the Yosemite RIM Fire. As I see it burn across HWY 120 West of Groveland, it appears to have taken a turn on the South perimeter towards the South West. Wind predictions (although not strong @ 10/MPH) suggest that the Southern Peri miter will continue to head in the direction of the old family homestead on Schilling Road, just 4/miles as the crow flies South of Coulterville. The fire line is about 8/miles away from my place, but this thing is spreading quickly in heavy dry chapperal and pines laces with white oaks.

    The Telegraph Fire back 4-years ago burned from the South heading North within 1/4th mile of the property.

    What link on the computer do you find gives you the best view of the progress of an active fire like RIM? I want to watch this puppy, as I was to inhabit that place the 31st through Sept 4th while attending the Mariposa Co. Fair. Mariposa is about 21 miles South of the burn.

    Just looking to a more accurate place to see this fire if you have an exact address.

    God Bless,

  2. What a great website. I just discovered it today. Being a retired firefighter and having family in Midpines, near the Rim fire, you provided a lot of great information. During my collage years I worked seasonal near Shaver Lake/Huntington Lake. This experience led me to pursue a career as a municipal firefighter. You’re information is precise and concise.
    Thank you for taking the time to do this.
    Bill Lawler
    Westminster Fire Dept, California
    (Now Orange County Fire Authority)
    And loving retirement in Madison, Alabama

  3. The MAFFS have been stopping at Fresno Air Attack Base every morning to get a load before heading to the fire.

  4. Last night (Wednesday) I could clearly see the flames from Midpines near Highway 140 in Mariposa County.


    1. Dear Bill…Thank you for service in 1987. I live in Sonora, and we all remember the Stanislaus Complex Fire with awe and humility. The lesson in the truth of our vulnerability when Nature takes control.
      And how we wait to get reports on what is still standing and how soon the Rim Fire will be contained.

  5. Hello Bill,

    I just found your site this morning. Our son left Mt. Whitney on August 13th and is traveling the John Muir Trail, expected to enter Yosemite on Sept. 6th. Are you familiar with the path and do you think he is safe there?

    KC (his worried Mom)

    1. Hi KC,

      The Rim Fire is on the west side of the park; the JMT enters about 50 miles away, on the the east side. He should be quite safe!

  6. Like Mark, I too was remembering 1987 as well. Just about the same time of year as I recall. From there we went to the Forks of the Salmon Complex. Looks like a repeat there this year as well.

  7. August 27, 1987 the Evergreen Fire, cause mechanical equipment, Evergreen Road. August 28 that evening a few lightning strikes in the Merced River Canyon (outflow from Yosemite N.P. Valley Floor). Largest fire 31 acres. August 29 the perfect DRY lightning storm, hundreds of start. The Stanislaus Complex, until the snow fell.

  8. Hi all –

    Another worried Mom here – my daughter has been spending the summer building trails in the high country in Kings Canyon w/the CCC. I believe they are in the Palisades Lakes area at this point. As this fire is still only 5 percent contained and the weather not likely to give firefighters a break, what are the chances of this fire spreading south?

  9. The Rim Fire will not make it to King Canyon. The only thing your daughter has to worry about at Palisades Lake is don’t run out of mosquito repellent. If you look on a map the fire will only travel as far as the Merced River to the South.

  10. Its Kings Canyon (not King) Highway 140 is the road out of Mariposa following the Merced River that flows from the Valley Floor of Yosemite.

  11. Thanks for the good information – we live in Groveland, have a B&B there and have been housing evacuees and fire/TV crew here this week. We’re on an advisory evacuation now, packed and ready to bug out if necessary, but still here. The smoke is heaviest here in the early morning until the SW winds push it back over the fire site. thanks again for a great website. JLR

  12. Your site is so much more current and detailed than inciweb. Thank you for the huge effort you put into informing us. … Several thousand of us, mostly in CA but also from around the world, learned yesterday that the Rim Fire has cancelled/postponed the Labor Day weekend Strawberry Music Festival, which is held annually at Camp Mather. … Countless people have done the Strawberry festival, as well as camped with families in the classic wooden Mather buildings, in the past 50 (?) years … Can anyone please post info here about the status of Camp Mather, which appears to be in the direct path (footprint?) of the fire? Is it being used as a fire crew camp? Many thanks.
    — Sylvia in Davis

    1. Hi Sylvia,
      Yes, Mather is a fire camp. They have done back burns to save the structures, all was well as of 6:00 last night. But, the fire is now in an area we call Doturs meadow, across from the Evergreen Lodge. Still very close to Mather.

      1. Patsy and others, thanks for taking the time to reply here. Would greatly appreciate any other updates you can post today re Camp Mather and Evergreen Lodge and Dimond O campground.
        — Sylvia in Davis

        1. Thank you for the info! I’ve been stalking the web as well looking for a reliable source of information. My fiancé and I are always camping and backpacking in the area and we are getting married at the Evergreen Lodge in a couple months. It’s been really difficult to find out their status. Thanks again!

  13. I’m really concerned about the Evergreen Lodge. It looks as if it is in the direct line of the fire. Any news yet?

  14. We have a cabin in Strawberry near Pinecrest….just wondering if the fire / smoke will be a problem for anyone going to Strawberry?
    Thank you so much…

  15. Lots of ground resources assigned to structure protection. “Lodge” should be fine.
    Pinecrest, much smoke, no Rim Fire threat.

    1. I, too, am concerned about the Evergreen Lodge. We evacuated out of there on Wednesday at 4.00pm and left behind a lot of our belongings. Do you think the resources assigned to structure protection means they save the cabins, etc. even if the fire burns through there? It sure looks like it is right in the pathway now. Thanks.

        1. Very grateful for any news about Camp Mather and Evergreen Lodge. Thanks for this little bit of news. We’ve been going to the Strawberry Music Festival since it started. Camp Mather is our second home. We’re very concerned about how the camp is doing. Hard to tell at the map. Also, we’ve stayed at Evergreen and love it!

  16. Hi Bill,
    Great web site!, It gives me a perfect timeline of a Backpacking trip which I had to cut short into the Emigrant Basin north of Cherry Lake.

    I arrived at the Pinecrest Ranger Station to collect my permit around 1:00 PM, Wednesday. The sky was partly cloudy and no smoke at all. The Ranger assured me the fire was moving away from where I was headed- No worries … I arrived at the Gianelli Trail head and departed at 2:00 PM with clear skies other than a few clouds which I expected. I arrived at Chewing Gum lake around 5:00 PM still full of energy after taking several nice photos along the way as the viability was great.

    I could see the smoke from the fire well off to the south but it was heading away from where I was. The weather was warm that night with a 20 minute thunderstorm around 9:00 PM. At midnight the wind picked up and it remained windy the rest of the night keeping me awake. I got up at 6:00 AM it was still windy and was headed to my destination of Long Lake around 7:45 AM. The Sky was overcast from the smoke which had shifted in my direction but it was still sunny and the smoke was very high-no worries.
    I connected to the main trail and started up the assent of a somewhat steep hill. by the time I reached the summit the sun disappeared and although the visibility was still good enough to take pictures of the distant volcanic formations, the air quality was not very good and my breathing became labored, I was exhausted. I assumed my fatigue was a result of lack of sleep the night before and took a long break at the top of the hill. The smoke started to encase the trees around me and the viability dropped. Descending about half way down the other side, I stopped and realized that even if I made it to Long lake in this now thick smoke, there was no way I was going to be able to walk all the way back to my car on Saturday as I had planned. Even though I was going down hill I was still so fricking tired and the air quality was terrible. I started thinking that if I had to bail today it would mean I would have to hike back over this hill and the 2 others which I crossed yesterday and the farther I go now will increase the distance I would have to go back,. I didn’t have any idea the fire had exploded at the time but knew that whatever was happening wasn’t going to be good for me. I remembered this tiny lake I had passed shortly after connecting with the main trail and was wishing I stayed there instead of walking the extra mile to Chewing Gum. I decided to back track there and see if the wind changes and the air cleared and then retrace my steps with a shorter destination for today. I arrived at the lake around 11:00 AM and was the only person there. I was pooped and decided I would take a nap after lunch so I set up my tent on some soft ground in the trees and had lunch on the rocks by the lake. The smoke was just above the trees and as I was eating it started to lightly snow ash around me. It was a little chilly and was still windy when I fell asleep around noon. I awoke feeling a lot better, laying on my back in the tent looking at the sky it was as if I was back in the thick fog of Pacifica except this was smoke and it was getting dark. I was thinking it was like 6:00 PM and couldn’t believe I slept that long. I crawled out of my tent and realized everything I had was covered in ash which was still falling heavily all around me. I looked at my little clock and it was only 1:30 PM. I got to get out of here! scrambled stuffing everything back into my pack and was on the trail at 2:00 PM. A short time later I caught up one of the parties I saw at Chewing Gum Lake , they departed the lake well after me and were originally headed for Toejam Lake and had turned around on the same hill I did. Having fun walking on the moon one of the friendly guys replied. We arrived back at the trailhead at 4:00 PM. Turning on the car radio I learned of the what happened with the fire. On the way back we bumped into two guys starting a 10 day loop hike. I hope they are ok.

    1. Glad you’re okay. Sounds scary as hell.

      The fire started down in the Clavey River Canyon on the afternoon of the 17th. That evening I slept in the woods a couple miles up the Clavey watershed, not knowing of danger. Driving out the next day along Cherry Lake Rd to 120, the smoke was thick but no ashfall. Then we saw the fire from the Rim. Cherry Lake Rd road burned a few days later.

  17. Unsure how close the fire is to Evergreen Lodge. Regardless there has been amble time to prepare for a burn through IF that occurs. Last time I checked over 200 fire engines now assigned on the Rim, highest priority structure protection.

  18. My family arrived at the park yesterday and are staying in a cabin on the park grounds. I just heard from them that they are having a great time and the scenery is spectacular. They did not mention a fire. Should I be worried?

  19. I’m just curious… does Johnny Coldwater have any actual “insider” info here or is this all speculation? The info is coming across as authoritative and knowledgable… but is responding way too quickly and frequently to actually be involved in the fire ops. Johnny? Whats your deal?

  20. In 1944 I worked on the Kelly Flat Fire (Near now Cherry Lake.) Our camp was at Jawbone which was burned over by the 1987 fire- about 145,000 acres.

  21. Just posted on the Evergreen Lodge website (see below):
    I also spoke with Tina on the help line tonight and she had been by the Lodge 4 times today and at the moment everything looked fine there and the Sheriff had been there all day.

    “Evergreen Lodge Closed Temporarily Due to Wildfire
    On August 21st, the Evergreen was evacuated due to the wildfire burning in the Yosemite area. While thus far the lodge has not be damaged by the fire (fortunately!), we are still unable to operate.

    At this point, it is unclear how long we will be closed, though we’re hoping to reopen for Labor Day weekend. For those due to stay with us before Labor Day, we will be cancelling your reservation and refunding your deposit in the next few days. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this closure, but its obviously beyond our control.

    We have set up a remote reservations office in the interim and can be reached via phone or email. However, we prefer that you email us as our phone coverage is limited.

    Thanks for your understanding and we hope to see you soon!

    To book a cabin or for more details, call (209)­ 379-2606, email us, or make an Online Booking.”

  22. Johnny Coldwater is a student of wildfire prediction and fire behavior. He owns a company, Wildfire Suppression Watchman (no web site, too busy) that does predictive services and fire behavior evaluations for customers, manufactures fire equipment, logging and prescription burning and operates a small fleet of type six engines. This is Johnny’s forty eighth (48) year in wildfire management and operations. There is no “insider” info in this business. The Rim management team (many who he has worked with) are knowledgeable and competent. Johnny has worked for Cal Fire, Forest Service and Aero Union. Holds several degrees in aviation and public safety plus inventor of eight common name fire products. Went into private sector work three years ago. Daily rate for his services is $1052 per day plus expenses. Johnny’s involvement with Wildfire Today is volunteer, as a service to the public. His comments do not reflect the opinions of the management or staff of Wildfire Today.

  23. We just stayed at Yosemite Lakes (part of Thousand Trails) last week. Did the campground come out unscathed?? Does anyone know anything?

  24. We have a cabin in Sugar Pine. Near Highway 108. Are the air drops being done there? Is our place and surrounding neighborhoods going to make it?

  25. The major drainage below Sugar Pine is the North Fork of the Tuolumne River. I would guess an all out air and ground war is going on to prevent the fire from getting even close to that drainage. Forest Road 3N01 from Long Barn is the road leading out to the Clavey. Study the fire map on this site (best I have found) enlarge and look for the fires progress. Tuolumne County Sheriff has an advisory (possible action needed) 209-533-5174 for the Highway 108 corridor Soulsbyville to above Long Barn.

  26. Any idea how the Sawmill Mtn Road area (1S03 Forest Route) off 120E cabins fared? Yesterday, it looked like the fire perimeter spared our place but this morning that whole area is encompassed by the fire zone 🙁 Thanks

  27. How many tons of greenhouse gases are they estimating that the Yosemite wildfire is injecting into the atmosphere? One thing that I would like to see when these wildfires occur is that the media help the public put them in context. I don’t think that a lot of people are aware that not only are these wildfires a consequence of elevated climate instability caused by burning fossil fuels, but also every time we experience one of these wildfires it introduces even more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere making the atmospheric carbon load even worse.

    CO2 emissions from fire equal about half the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion. That is news that is not being reported.

    The reporters reporting on these stories should ask for this information from officials. They should ask how many tons of CO2 were introduced into the atmosphere as a result of the Arizona and Colorado fires. But they don’t.

    For one thing, they could ask the folks right up the road at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California. They analyze things like how much carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere by fires.

    Climate scientists have developed models for forecasting wildfires. For example, take a look at the map at

    1. It’s called the Rim Fire. Yep, it stinks out there but guess what? Putting a halt to logging, undercutting, and prescribed burns are what help fuel fires this big. Also the terrain hasn’t helped. But I guess CO2 emissions are what are most important to someone calling this the Yosemite fire and not the houses and animals that are threatened. Luckily for the majority of us who are concerned about when we need to be prepared to evacuate, the reporters are focussing on gaining access to THAT information until the danger is gone.

      1. AS,
        Thanks for your reply to Burnet. Who cares about CO2 emissions when a fire is close to your home? All I know or care about is the evacuees seeking shelter here in our town, their homes, their safety and the safety of those fighting the fire. Burnet thinks Santa Barbara is “right up the road”, it’s SOUTH of here and not even nearby, they are obviously not from the area, if even from California. Burnet’s comments are not very thoughtful at a time like this.

  28. Best bet is 209-533-5174. I imagine it got pretty hot in that area, good luck with your cabin.

    1. Thank you! I have made so many phone calls and this was the first phone number that actually answered! I really appreciate your info. It sounds like that area is in pretty bad shape. There are about a dozen cabins in that little stretch and we have had ours for 51 years. I’ll just have to wait and pray. Thank you

  29. A bunch of us are worried and wondering about the status of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp on Hardin Flat Road off of 120. Until today, the maps showed the fire had been held at bay right at Hardin Flat where it connects to 120, but the maps later this afternoon show the fire AT the camp. We can’t find any new information, but there is a rumor circulating that the fire crews had sprayed fire retardant on the camp earlier in the week, and are in fact stationed at the camp this evening. Any news for us “Friends of Berkeley Tuolumne Camp” that I can post? Thanks!!

  30. RIM FIRE INFO 209-533-5174. My dad was a logger working for Quinn Logging and Mill at Harden Flat. Try the above number it seems to be working.

  31. Anyone know the link to the map w/ branches/divisions so it’s easier to follow the scanner chatter? The versions on inciweb are without that info.


      1. PS, you may already know this, but you can hit ctrl + to zoom in (for any webpage, except on Macs)

  32. I was just wondering if this was going to get into Greely Hill.I am out of the country an was not getting any news about how thefire progresses there?

  33. Greeley Hill, Just talked with a life long friend who I believe is one of the best fire behaviorlist on the planet. He is very familiar with the Stanislaus N.F. The Rim fire is eight air miles from upper Highway 132. Mother Nature is holding the “high cards” however the weather looks favorable for a burning pattern that doesn’t include explosive runs and spotting over a half mile. I am not on the “team” managing the Rim Fire but I am sure their doing or going to do what ever it takes to keep the fire out of the Greeley Hill area. 209-533-5174 Fire Info

  34. Any news tonight ( Saturday ) regarding Rim Fire near Evergreen Lodge and surrounding area? My daughter was married there this past June 29th.

  35. Tuolumne Sheriff office told me tonight that they have stayed clear of Evergreen Lodge, Camp Mather area today to stay out of the firefighters way. Lots of activity there today as it, in fact, burned through the area but apparently are hopeful that the structures were saved. Had expected to open up to allow people back in to see the area today, but with the high fire activity did not and do not know when they currently will.

  36. Four hours ago InciWeb changed the fire line at Camp Mather from roughly 300 feet from Birch Lake, having consumed all of the dining hall side and most of lake side, to now showing that all of Mather was saved. This was confirmed by the below e-mail I received at 11:50 PM Sunday from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks.

    A Note from Phil Ginsburg
    Dear Camp Mather Friends and Families,

    We want to thank you for the concern you’ve expressed for our beloved Camp Mather. As the Rim Fire continues to burn in the Yosemite area and countless firefighters are working tirelessly to battle the blaze on a larger scale, we want to give you an accurate update of the situation up at camp.

    This weekend, the fire had spread to the edges of camp, and in fact, some minor damage was reported. Thankfully though, as of this afternoon, no additional damage had been observed and all structures remained intact.

    Two strike teams and one hand team remain deployed at Camp Mather for structural defense.

    The heroic efforts of a multitude of people, including staff from the San Francisco Fire Department, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and Recreation and Park Department staff, have been key to keeping Mather and other adjacent areas safe thus far.

    Also, under the direction of the Rim Fire Unified Command Structure, and coordinating with other City and County of San Francisco departments, Rec and Park staff continue to manage logistics to support fire base camp operations at Camp Mather.

    Again, thank you for all of your concern. We’ll send additional updates as the situation develops further.


    Phil Ginsburg, General Manager
    San Francisco Recreation and Parks

  37. Monday morning,
    Any word on Evergreen Lodge, was it saved from the Rsim fire burning past?

  38. Monday morning. Anyone know about the property damage along Clements Rd.? The maps are showing perhaps a fire break at Clements Rd., but I’m looking for info about those homes/properties north of the road, between Clements and the river.

  39. Evergreen Lodge saved and the immediate surrounding forest okay, according to the Lodge employee that called me this morning. He has seen pictures from today.

  40. Any news on Yosemite Lakes campground? We have been camping there 25 years. Just there 3 weeks ago. I was more sad then usual leaving this year, couldn’t stop staring at the creek. I see Berkeley camp down the street has burned on the news.

      1. cam’s back up/ w/ fire noticeably closer – with the middle distance ridge now hidden by smoke – quite a sight!

  41. Re the cam image. That’s looking NW, not SW – the label is wrong. From the crane flat lookout site you can tell that the view is the same, and that Duckwall Mtn. is just right of center 11 miles away to the NW behind the smoke. Anyone familiar w/ yosemite know what the hill is to the far right in the cam screenshot? Looks like the fire is down in the Tuolumne river drainage?

  42. My husband and I have been backpacking out of Hetch Hetchy for 40+ years. Hate to see the area hit by fire again it was just looking good from the last major fire that went thru. So going to miss our trip this year, we were suppose to head in Labor Day. Does anyone know if they saved the Miguel Meadows ranger station?

  43. Is Pinecrest Lake OK? My family is supposed to go camping there on Sept 7th. I called the lodging at the lake & they said it is fine but I also know they have not had a lot of business since this awful fire. Please let me know your thoughts & if I should cancel our reservation. Keep safe firefighters!

  44. “Additional resources ordered” How far away are crews and engines coming from? I imagine all the easily obtained strike teams are already there.

  45. Living in Confidence, on the rim of the North Fork Tuolumne River in Twain Harte. Last night, (Tues Aug 27) fed two strike teams while looking out at Mt. Lewis across the Tuolumne Canyon and Duckwall Mountain just to south. Brave teams, 2 miles away could be identified by the tiny white lights. They began a 10 mile long backfire UPHILL on Duckwall that absolutely beat anything I saw in Nam or any 4th of July. The D6 and D7 dozers and brush morcellators have cut wide swath, now dirt, firebreaks in our neighborhood where brush and giant trees once stood. Structure defense engines are everywhere and the kids are awesome…Riverside, LA, Ventura, SF, Meno Park. “Nobody does this for us when we are back in the city”. Well, we do. And we will win. Now…somebody start selective forest logging, thinning, floor cleanup and sell timber for government income. For fun, Google “Imported lumber from China”….is that really necessary or are we so stupid we BURN OURS and BUY THEIRS?? Just asking. Final thought: Firefighters are incredible, brave, selfless and smart. Like warriors. Thank you guys…and strike team Riverside’s… the lovely Deanna. JB

    1. For the benefit of non aviators: A drone can fly in the immediate fire area because a TFR or Temporary Flight Restriction is activated that keeps all non involved aircraft out of the area. Unless the rules change about flight in the National Airspace , when a military drone flies outside of a TFR or restricted area, it is escorted by a manned aircraft flying in formation and must avoid populated areas.


      Common usage of unmanned aircraft has a ways to go.

  46. This morning’s LA Times says there are 4840 personnel assigned to “Rim”: gotta be close to a record?

  47. Thank you, Bill, for your timely updates and information. My daughter is in MiWuk and I’m in Kansas so your information is very welcome.

  48. Thanks to the incident commanders for releasing the detail map on Inciweb showing the new fire breaks and areas of the fire that are contained.

    It really gives a better pictureof the hard work these fire fighters are putting infighting this fire.

  49. Many thanks for this wonderfully informative website – and to those whose comments help clarify also! Probably a stupid question – but – when comparing the fire maps with my old AAA maps, I can’t tell how close this Evil Monster is getting to the Giant Sequoia Groves. Seems like it’s starting to look pretty close?
    For 20 yrs, my husband & I have come up there in Dec to promise each other “we *will* have another year together” – come what may. Now in my 70s and we’ll be up there again this year – we know the forest will come back & survive for our grandkids, but for everyone’s sake, surely wish this hadn’t happened.

  50. The “forest’ will look much different. Hopefully in December there will be ample snow to soften the visual impact. The Giant Sequoias are no strangers to fires. They have survived hundreds of years and will continue to stand for hundreds of years more. I understand that early in the Rim Fire sprinkler systems ( like field agricultural systems) where installed near the Sequoia to make sure the fires intensity would have little or no impact on these national treasures. This was an excellent plan on the part of the operations branch, as the Rim Fire displayed fire behavior not often seen by fire fighter.

    1. Johnny – good ideas have long memories: in 1988, we used Ag Irrigation systems to keep the Yellowstone fires from coming into Wets Yellowstone. Looking at “West” now, it may seem that a wildfire burnover could have been called “urban re-development”, but at the time it seemed the right thing to do!

    2. Many thanks, Johnny. I knew they’d installed sprinklers systems & trenched along the perimeter early on. Kudos to whomever ordered those! Hoped they wouldn’t be needed but still don’t know how close the fire’s come to them?

  51. The fire will never go out because it is caused by tectonic plate emissions along the numerous fault lines and areas of thin crust. Our atmosphere had a recent magnetic pole shift due to the far reaching magnetic flux tubes of passing planet x. We are negatively charged and receiving charged blows to our atmosphere now. Watch Astral Traveler on You Tube to have the current N A S A satellite data explained for you. He shows the satellite cloud tops exhibiting a powerful electrical charge; causing volcanic/ tectonic emissions when the electrical front passes. It’s eerie.

    1. Oddly, the official fire reports filled out by federal employees for every fire do not list “tectonic plate emissions” as one of the fire causes that can be selected.

      1. Bill, I think the federal employees are not allowed to type certain phrases like that. Regulated by the NSA (no such agency).

        1. I read through it several times and I did not see Anyone mention a flux capacitor. Very disappointing.

      2. I beg to differ w/ islandchi. If you read between the lines he/she is intimating that the fire started due to natural causes. However if you examine the satellite map there’s a perfect circle, nearly 200′ in diameter slightly SE of the starting lat-long. This is clear proof that the fire was started an alien landing. (Doesn’t matter that the photo was taken long before the fire – aliens time travel with ease.)

  52. I believe its under ‘other causes not listed”, just below space debris. This is very interesting. I am going to do some studying and run this by one of our cooperate officers who holds three PH.D’s. Engineering, physics and is an attorney. Thanks for a different view.

    1. @Johnny: space debris almost did me in.

      Though firefighters here have to be careful about stump holes and such, they rarely run onto “lava holes” or pits, which is rather common on Hawaii fires. (Not a well-known fact, but Hawaii and Guam are both within the USFS Region 5 …)

  53. Question for you experts. On the perimeter map for Sept. 1, northwest side of the fire, there’s a large area that has just appeared on the map since 8/30. Area is >95% surrounded by a new red line; enclosed area is roughly 4 by 6 miles (15,000 acres). I suppose this new red line is “burnout” and/or “backfires”. That is, the firefighters have decided that the best strategy is to pretty much give *that much land* to the fire, so that the populated area along Highway 108 will be better defended. Am I right?

    I remember the Oakland Hills fire of 1991. I have a sense of weather, terrain, drought-affected plants, spotting, etc. that you’d expect of a well-informed “civilian.” Lately I’ve been reading up on wildfire. I discovered the astounding rate of spread of the Cedar Fire of 2003. (This isn’t news to you experts.) Thank you all – this is a “teachable moment.” – Carl A. in Oakland

  54. I’ve been following this fire as it involves an area dear to our hearts. My husband and I made a handful of backpacking trips out of Cherry Lake over the years and were married on the southern beach of Kibbie Lake in 1984, where our wedding party camped. Many sincere thanks for this dazzling thesis of endurance, guts, and perseverance. Bless your hearts, each and every one. Good long showers and great beer to all!

  55. “EXPERT”: x an unknown, sprit uncontrolled drip, EXPERT. The two terms backfire and burning out are completely different tactical evolutions. Burning out (plan to) is probably what your seeing on the map. Establish mineral lines, use non flammable natural areas spare or no vegetation, water sources, roads to conduct burning out the vegetation between the establish line and the fire. You are working the fire, the fire isn’t working you. You have established the place (line) the time (usually at night, higher R.H. and favorable winds). If the aliment for burning doesn’t feel right (weather current and forecast, equipment and personnel not in place) your not time compressed to execute the burning. Backfire, usually only works in full blown timber fires, consuming large amount of oxygen (air). The more energy release (crowning) with moderate rate of spread the better. Your “make a stand” on a road or dozer line. Personnel are spaced out along the road or line awaiting orders to set fire as this wall of flames approaches. The wind is blowing in your face. The fire is usually within a quarter of a mile from your location when the wind will stop blowing. It will be spooky calm for a few minutes. You kick the dirt and see that the dust is now being sucked back into the approaching fire. Fire off your line quickly, get to a safety area if needed, watch for spots across the line. The more energy the backfire can produce as its sucked into the main fire will reduce the number of spots across the line, if any. Back Fire, Mother Nature is holding the high cards and your attempting a bluff.

    1. Thanks – now I know the difference between “burnout” and “backfire.” But my real question was, whether giving up 4 miles to a wildfire is the sort of thing firefighters sometimes have to do, and probably did in the Rim Fire. If so, I’m prepared to accept that, but I find it amazing.

      1. A trip to the Rim of the World on Highway 120 may give you a little better perspective of what fire fighters where faced with. From the Rim look into the deep canyon a little down stream. 2004 CDF fire fighter lost her life, Tuolumne Fire. Scan another mile down canyon, 1949 fire dozer was overrun by the Walton Spur Fire the operator was burned to death. No one wants to “loss” more timber than is necessary. In others word you sometimes you have to loss a little to save a lot. Although it may not seem like it the Rim fire fighters did a heck of a job.

        1. “the Rim fire fighters … a heck of a job” – Amen. Just like you, I want everyone to come out alive, and I know that doesn’t always happen. But on one point, I’d use different words. Rather than “lose a little to save a lot,” I might say that the firefighters have to “lose a lot to save a far bigger lot.” Or maybe, in a fire like this one, 4 miles by 6 miles of forest is only “a little”- in comparison. I like your word “perspective” – we need it with such tough terrain, such dry fuels, and thousands of houses at risk.

  56. Yesterday the Rim Fire burned through the old-growth sugar pine forests in Big Oak Flat and Crane Flat, according to the InciWeb map. This is, or was, the finest old-growth sugar pine forest remaining, and was the focus of a major conservation campaign in the 1920s leading to their inclusion in Yosemite NP in 1930. Does anyone know how severely the sugar pine forest burned? Is it gone? – Bill C. in Albuquerque

  57. Just an observation, but in the picture where the Silver State Hotshots are conducting a firing operation on the Rim Fire…

    Does it appear to anyone except me, that the dozer berm is on the wrong side of the line?

    I know there are situations where the berm cannot always be cast to the “outside” of the line, but I’ve been skinning cat on fires for about 24 years now, and we usually ask, just to make sure… I have never been told NOT to cast to the outside.

    However, on very rare occasions, usually grass and sage brush fires and only through corroboration with my dozer boss (HEQB, now), I will angle and tilt my blade, it’s a “six-way”, and doze dirt right on the flames … this does work rather well to stop the flame front, because I can track along rather fast and the blade throws the dirt a bit. It will leave a “hot berm” however, so needs monitoring as some fuel is always mixed with the dirt, can be a mop up mess, too.

    The effect on the dirt is similar to…

    Yeah, that’s me on the Dunn Mountain Fire about this time of year in 2008.
    I wasn’t putting dirt on the flames there, I was casting out.
    My DOZB took the picture of me, I took this one… of him. 🙂

    Heck of a guy… really liked him!!!


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