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The Ferguson Fire burns near Yosemite National Park on Sunday, July 15, 2018, as seen from El Portal, Calif. (Carrie Anderson via AP)

Ferguson Fire Scorches over 21,000 acres near Yosemite

The Ferguson Fire began last Friday evening (13/July) in the Savage Trading Post area of Mariposa County, CA. It quickly grew past 4,000 acres by Sunday morning. Evacuations were issued for several areas in the vicinity and parts of Hwy 140 were closed due to firefighting activities. From the beginning, crews focused on securing fire line along Hwy 140 and structure protection where needed. In preparation for the hot and dry forecast, additional resources worked to extend containment lines to the east on both north and south flanks of the fire. Daily, an inversion has kept the smoke low over the fire which limits the usage of aircraft for water and retardant drops. Another compounding factor to this very active fire is the available fuels – this area has had no significant wildfire in nearly 100 years.

 

Ferguson plume at sunset

Ferguson Fire smoke-plume at sunset from Yosemite National Park, 17/July/2018. (Photo: Scott Newmann)

 

Fire Outlook

The forecast has been much the same each day for the Ferguson Fire area. Today’s weather was similar to yesterday with upper 90os and into the triple digits, relative humidity around 17-20%, and light & variable west winds at 5-10 mph with gusts to 20 mph. As thunderstorms built over the area after lunch, these winds increased to 15 mph with stronger gusts. These conditions will lead to ongoing active fire behavior. As safety allowed, crews conducted burning operations along the western and eastern sides of the fire. This means they purposely burned fuel to remove it in controlled portions. Removing this fuel allows resources to better control where the fire can grow and spread next. At only 7% containment, crews are pre-positioned in the communities around the fire in case the winds drive it quickly to the houses. So far, no homes have been destroyed from this fire, but the destructive California fires of this past fall and winter remain fresh in everyone’s minds.

 

Smoke traveled from the Ferguson Fire into Yosemite National Park and lingered as the inversion continued day after day. (Photo: Scott Newmann)

Smoke traveled from the Ferguson Fire into Yosemite National Park and lingered as the inversion continued day after day. (Photo: Scott Newmann)

Fire Facts

  • As of: July 19th, 2018
  • Location: Mariposa, CA
  • Size: 21,041 acres
  • Containment: 7%
  • Fire Behavior: Moderate fire spread through brush/chapparal and light pine timber
  • Structures Threatened: 108
  • Structures Destroyed: zero
  • Evacuations: In place for Jerseydale and Mariposa Pines to the south, Yosemite West to the east, and along Hwy 140 to the north
  • Incident Page: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5927/
detwiler thumbnail

Detwiler Fire Scorches Over 80,000 Acres

Detwiler Fire Summary

The Detwiler fire started in the afternoon of July 16th along Detwiler Rd and Hunters Valley Rd, approximately two miles southeast of Lake McClure in California. The fire quickly spread to the southeast due to ample fuel and steep terrain and was an immediate threat to nearby structures. Mandatory evacuation orders were quickly issued for all homes along Detwiler Road, Hunters Valley Road, and Hunters Valley Access Road. Just 24 hours later, the fire had grown to 11,000 acres and by 18 July the fire jumped the Merced River. By 23 July the Detwiler fire had grown to 76,000 acres. Sixty-three single-family residences had been destroyed, with 13 damaged. One commercial structure had been lost with 67 minor structures having been destroyed, and 8 damaged. The losses dwarfed those of the Whittier and Brianhead Fires previously covered this summer by RedZone. As of 28 July the fire is estimated to have burned 81,650 acres but firefighters have worked hard to achieve 75% containment. No additional homes or structures have been lost or damaged. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Detwiler Fire NASA Photo

NASA’s view from space of the Detwiler Fire on July 19th, 2017


Detwiler Fire Outlook

There are currently 3,553 personnel assigned to the Detwiler fire including 246 engines, 47 water tenders, 96 hand crews, and 28 dozers. Numerous helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are also working the incident. Ground crews worked through the night to build and reinforce containment lines, including the 100-acre spot fire that broke out yesterday afternoon in the Hunters Valley area. Hot and dry conditions are expected throughout the next few days as air and ground resources continue to put out hot spots and watch for flare-ups. Steep, rugged terrain makes access difficult in some areas, but firefighters are making good progress.

Detwiler Fire Progression

Infrared Perimeter Progression of the Detwiler Fire from July 18-25


Detwiler Fire Facts

Sources: Inciweb, NIFC, MyMotherLode.com