The huge fire raging around Yosemite National Park now covers more than 230 sq miles (600 sq km) and continues to grow with just a small percentage of it contained.
It continues moving and is now only 20 miles from the park’s main tourist area.
The Rim Fire is one of 50 fires currently burning, but it is by far the largest. In all, more than 5000 wild fires have been tackled this year.
The blaze began on 17 August in the Stanislaus National Forest, but the cause is still unknown.
“This fire has continued to pose every challenge that there can be on a fire,” said Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. (source)
2800 firefighters are tackling the blaze which is now threatening the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The reservoir supplies the city of San Francisco with its municipal water. California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a State of Emergency for the San Francisco area due to the fire threatening the power lines as well as the water supply.
San Francisco has had to buy power on the open market at a cost of $600,000 because two of the three power stations that supply the city have been closed down as a safeguarding measure.
Ash is said to be falling like snow on the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, which supplies San Francisco with 85% of its water. Visibility in the smoke-ridden area is down to 100ft (30m), but officials say the water quality is still good.
“The water we are receiving is still of good quality,” said Harlan Kelly Jr, general manager of the city’s Public Utilities Commission.
“We’re bringing down as much water as possible and replenishing all of the local reservoirs.” (source)
Ash and smoke are affecting air quality as far away as Reno, Nevada. Air advisories are in effect for most of Northern California and people are encouraged to stay indoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
|Photo credit: Reuters|
More than 5,000 homes are endangered by the blaze.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. Wake the flock up!