Big Meadow Fire

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Posted by Annie in Outdoors on August 31, 2009

Folks planning a Labor Day weekend trip to Yosemite National Park, may want to consider making other plans.  The heavy smoke leading to poor visibility could spell trouble for those with respiratory ailments.

According to the Incident Information System (InciWeb), The Big Meadow Fire was a 90 acre prescribed fire that crossed containment lines and is now aggressively being suppressed. A Type 1 Incident Management Team (McGowan) has been assigned to manage this fire.

The latest news was posted three hours ago.

Evacuation Lifted at Old El Portal and Yosemite View Lodge

Incident: Big Meadow Wildfire
Released: 3 hrs. ago

Big Meadow Fire

Big Meadow Fire

At 7:30 PM on Monday, August 31, the evacuation of Old El Portal and Yosemite View Lodge was lifted. Residents are cautioned that the Big Meadow Fire remains only 55% contained and fire behavior could dictate additional evacuations in the future, so they should remain vigilant with irreplaceable documents and possessions ready to move.

The evacuation of the Foresta community remains in place while firefighters continue to mop up hot spots and cut down hazardous dead and burned trees along access roads.

I just received an eMail update from the Yosemite Association regarding the Big Meadow Fire.

Big Meadow Fire Update

The Big Meadow Fire that started near Foresta is now 55% contained according to reports this morning. The fire is approximately 2 miles east of El Portal and has burned almost 5000 acres.

Except for the Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the intersection with the El Portal Road, Yosemite National Park is open and as majestic as ever. The Association offices in El Portal, which were evacuated Friday evening, are now open. The residences in old El Portal and Foresta are still evacuated as the firefighters work to control the fire.

The National Park Service this morning (Monday, 8:00 am) reported that “the fire continues to burn actively (a large column of smoke was visible yesterday) in the wildneress towards Tioga Road near Tamarack Flat and northwest in Upper Crane Creek drainage.

Today, firefighters will continue to aggressively build an indirect fire line away from the fires edge. The strategy is to use an indirect fire line along with opportunities to conduct burnout operations (when conditions safely permit) to stop the forward progress of the fire. Firefighters will also continue to reinforce fire lines east of El Portal and around Foresta. No major fire activity was reported in these areas.

Due to fire operations, the Tioga Road between Crane Flat and White Wolf may close or access may be limited at any time today. Visitors on the east side can access Tuolumne Meadows, Olmsted Point, and White Wolf. However, through travel may be limited or restricted at any time.”

For more detailed information please visit the Big Meadow Fire Website.

I find it simply amazing the number of “prescribed burns” that get out of hand. This was a 90 acre prescribed burn that turned into 5,000 acres and ended up forcing several evacuations. I seem to recall a similar situation last year in Arizona.

Wildfires aren’t necessarily a bad thing — they are actually good for the forest. Nature has a way of taking care of things all on her own. You would think the state would figure that out eventually.

No such luck.

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