Ferguson Fire forces evacuations in Jerseydale area

The fire has burned over 9,000 acres west of Yosemite National Park in California

(UPDATED at 7:50 a.m. PDT July 16, 2018)

3-D map Ferguson Fire
3-D map of the Ferguson Fire at 8:53 p.m. PDT July 15, 2018. Click to enlarge.

After 3 p.m. Sunday the intensity of the Ferguson Fire increased dramatically as it spread 1.5 to 2 miles to the south and southeast, coming closer to the structures in the Jerseydale area.

Mandatory evacuation orders are still in effect. Sunday morning a fire advisement was issued for the Yosemite West area, which is on Wawona Road southeast of El Portal. It is an advisement of a potential Evacuation Order should conditions change.

CLICK HERE to see all of the articles on Wildfire Today about the Ferguson Fire, including the most recent.

Based on an 8:53 p.m. mapping flight Sunday night the Incident Management Team reported that the fire at that time had burned 9,266 acres.

map ferguson fire
Map of the Ferguson Fire at 8:53 p.m. PDT July 15, 2018. The yellow line was the approximate perimeter at 2 p.m. July 15. Click to enlarge.

The weather at the Ferguson Fire is expected to remain hot and dry for the next seven days, with isolated thunderstorms possible.

The 20-second video below is a time-lapse of still images of the fire captured between 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. July 15. Toward the end you will see a smoke column break through the inversion as the fire intensity increases. Sierra Fire Watch posted it, saying it was shot from a point near Mt. Raymond.

(UPDATED at 7:41 p.m. PDT July 15, 2018)

Ferguson Fire
Ferguson Fire. Photo uploaded to InciWeb Sunday afternoon.

After getting smoked in occasionally on Sunday, which at times made it impossible to use fixed wing air tankers, the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park became very active in the afternoon, chewing up additional acres on the south, east, and northwest sides while putting up an impressive pyrocumulus cloud visible from across the state.

Additional engines deployed to Jerseydale and Yosemite West to formulate structure protection plans. Firefighters have started construction of contingency lines along Sweetwater Ridge south of the fire and along Pinoche Ridge on the fires north flank.

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s office has the current evacuation information.

The map below made from satellite heat sensing data shows that at 2 p.m. Sunday the fire had burned approximately  5,500 acres, according to our very, very unofficial estimate. Earlier in the day the Incident Management Team was calling it 4,310 acres

map ferguson fire
Map showing the approximate location of the Ferguson Fire at 2 p.m. PDT July 15, 2018. The yellow line was the perimeter 12 hours before. Click to enlarge.

(UPDATED at 9:34 a.m. PDT July 15, 2018)

The Incident Management Team for the Ferguson Fire west of Yosemite National Park announced at about 8:30 Sunday morning that the fire has burned 4,000 acres.

Below is information provided Sunday morning by the Team:

Crews are focused on securing fire line along Highway 140 and protecting structures threatened along the corridor. Structure protection engines have arrived and are setting up to protect home and business between Cedar Lodge area and Hite’s Cove. Additionally crews are working to extend containment lines east on both the fires north and south flanks. Firefighters are scouting ridgelines to the east [in order to cut off] spread up the South Fork of the Merced River toward Yosemite National Park. Firefighters are aggressively fighting the fire at locations where they have the high probability of success. However, they are challenged by extremely steep and hazardous terrain with limited road access.

The weather for Sunday in the fire area predicts temperatures in the mid-90’s, relative humidity in the low 20’s, with southwest and west winds of 6 to 9 mph. These conditions should remain about the same over the next three days, except the wind speed will decrease a bit.

(Originally published at 6:20 a.m. PDT July 15, 2018)

The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office has ordered a mandatory evacuation for the Jerseydale area south of the Ferguson Fire. This includes all residences on Jerseydale Road, Hites Cove Road, and all side roads from Triangle Road to the end of Hites Cove Road.

The fire started Friday night and grew steadily Saturday and into Saturday night. Our very, very unofficial estimate of the burned area using satellite heat detection data is that it has burned at least 4,000 acres south of Highway 140 between Incline and Briceburg. It is west of El Portal and about four miles west of Yosemite National Park.

The map below is a rough estimate of the location of the fire and will be revised or replaced when more accurate information is available.

map Ferguson fire
Map showing the approximate location of the Ferguson Fire at 2:35 a.m. PDT July 15, 2018. Click to enlarge.

On Saturday a bulldozer operator on the fire was killed in an accident. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends, and coworkers of Braden Varney who leaves behind a wife and two small children.

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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.

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