Above: map showing heat on the Ferguson Fire detected by a satellite at 3 a.m. PDT July 14, 2018.
(UPDATED at 3:15 p.m. PDT July 14, 2018)
For a while late Saturday morning, smoke and impaired visibility grounded all air tankers on the Ferguson Fire, but by early afternoon the smoke had cleared enough to bring them back to drop retardant.
(To see all of the articles on Wildfire Today about the Ferguson Fire, including the most recent, click here.)
Now we are hearing that the fire has spotted across the South Fork of the Merced River on the west side of the fire. There is an effort to have the air tankers pretreat a ridge in an attempt to slow down the fire in that area.
— Andrew Kuhn (@ARKuhn) July 14, 2018
(UPDATED at 2:02 p.m. PDT July 14, 2018)
We regret to have to report that a firefighter died this morning on the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park. CAL FIRE announced this afternoon that Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney was tragically killed while battling the fire. Mr Varney leaves behind a wife and two small children.
One of the firefighters on the fire reported this morning that he thought there was a dozer rollover, and just in case, he wanted to get medical help started to the scene. It turned out that the dozer had rolled several times and ended up in a location that was very difficult to access by foot or see from an aircraft.
Just after 1 p.m. local time CAL FIRE made the official announcement about the fatality.
We send out our sincere condolences to Mr. Varney’s family, coworkers, and friends.
(UPDATED at 9:26 a.m. PDT July 14, 2018)
At 9:26 a.m. PDT Air Attack said the Ferguson Fire was holding at about 150 acres. The terrain, smoke, and power lines are challenges for the air tankers working the fire.
(Originally published at 7:44 a.m. PDT July 14, 2018)
Highway 140, one of the three highways that lead into Yosemite Valley in California, is closed due to a new wildfire. The Ferguson Fire was reported at 10:35 p.m. Friday and at last report had burned about 75 acres. The fire is just off Highway 140 near Hite Cove and has high potential to grow. Since firefighters were working under electrical lines the power in the area has been shut off, which may affect Yosemite National Park. The area around Savages Trading Post has been evacuated.
The fire is spreading in steep terrain in the Sierra National Forest 7 miles west of El Portal. The incident commander has requested four fixed wing air tankers, of any type, to attack the fire early Saturday morning if possible. They also requested dozers, helicopters, water tenders, and hand crews.