View Full Version : Whoa! Big fire in Yosemite/El Portal!

John Kasaian
26-Jul-2014, 22:08
Just heard on the local news----120 is closed and 41 is the only route out of the park that's open (not sure if they considered 120 in Tuolumne Meadows)
No campgrounds are threatened.
If you're headed that way check the latest road info.

Daniel Stone
26-Jul-2014, 22:12
It's dry as a bone, and hot as hell, so what's new here ;)?
Typical for summertime in California

Darren Kruger
26-Jul-2014, 23:24
I don't see it at InciWeb but I did find some information about the fire at http://yubanet.com/CAFires/El_Portal.php

Also, from http://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm:

Road and Campground Closures Due to Fire

Big Oak Flat Rd between Crane Flat & the El Portal Rd is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Rd or Hwy 120. Tioga Rd is open & accessible via Big Oak Flat & Tioga Pass Entrances. Crane Flat Campground is closed.

Yosemite National Park is Open

Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Drew Wiley
28-Jul-2014, 08:39
You really have to keep up to date concerning these fires if you're thinking of heading that direction. Things can change and get out of hand really fast.

28-Jul-2014, 09:01
From our local news website (http://www.mymotherlode.com/) this morning...

Yosemite, CA — The El Portal Fire, which is burning in Yosemite National Park and the Stanislaus National Forest, is up to 2,632 acres.

Officials say there is no containment. One structure has been destroyed and several more are threatened. There is still no access to Yosemite Valley from Highway 120. You can, however, access Tioga Pass by entering the park from Highway 120. Yosemite Valley is open via Highway 140 and Highway 41. Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are closed, as are the communities are Old El Portal and Foresta.

A Type 1 Fire Management Team is now managing fire operations. There are 585 firefighters on scene. In addition to ground crews, a DC-10, 8 airtankers, and 6 helicopters are being used to fight the fire. There will be a community meeting at six o’clock tonight at the El Portal School.

Given the westerly winds today, smoke will also affect the Yosemite high country. I can see drift smoke to the east of Columbia this morning.

Added: This is the third time the Foresta area has burned since the 16,000 acre A-Rock Fire in 1990.


28-Jul-2014, 09:28
Was returning from camping in Leavitt Meadows/Walker River area yesterday and near Oakdale we had about 5-6 Calfire trucks zoom past and one wide-load 18-wheeler with a bulldozer fly by with escort and lights and sirens a blarin'.

John Kasaian
29-Jul-2014, 12:29
Big brown cloud visible from Fresno this morning obscured the crest of a Sierra from Yosemite as far South as Huntington/Shaver Lakes.
Not good.

Daniel Stone
31-Jul-2014, 16:33
At least it'll promote new growth, and clear out old brush that's accumulated. Yes, it might rid photographic potential from the map for the next decade or two as things regrow and get restored/renewed, but that's just nature doing what it does best. Any idea on what started the fire?

Should make for interesting photography if you want to shoot charcoal details ;). Sorry, had to interject some humor here

John Kasaian
31-Jul-2014, 16:44
It sounds like much of the area that's burning now was already burned in the big fire of '90

31-Jul-2014, 17:12
When we had our big fire on Mt. Lemmon above Tucson, AZ about 10 years ago, biologists said the forest was an Ice Age remnant, and would probably never regrow those types of trees again. Same with the fires above the Mogollon Rim in northern NM. They say what used to be Ponderosa Pine forest will be "other", probably Bufelgrass and other introduced ground cover. If not just rocks. Hate to say it, but it's getting so warm the west may be like the Sahara desert in the future. Did you know the Sahara used to support a high population of humans?

1-Aug-2014, 08:31
Here's the latest from InciWeb on the El Portal fire (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4012/).

There is also a big fire on the west side of the Sierra in the San Joaquin River drainage. The French fire (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4013/)is 8,200 Ac. and is only 15% contained. The fire is just north of last year's Aspen fire.


Drew Wiley
1-Aug-2014, 08:51
Oh gosh. That's the canyon view from my old place, looking upriver toward Mammoth Pool then the Minarets and Mt Ritter on the horizon. No way they can fight
fire in that canyon itself. But hopefully they can stop it as it before it gets onto the shoulder of Kaiser. That second largest uncut Ponderosa pine forest in the
world is up on that bench (maybe now the largest, since so much of Arizona's Coccocino has recently itself burned). There is access there via the Stump Springs
road, none down in the canyon itself. ... I've pretty much given up on the idea of backpacking the Sierra this summer. Just too much risk of being smoked out
somewhere on a long trip. Headed for the Wind Rivers, where it's been mostly wet... hopefully not too wet in Sept. At least the bugs will be gone.

John Kasaian
3-Aug-2014, 18:14
A friend and I were planning to pack across the French Trail over to Mammoth this summer. Yikes!

3-Aug-2014, 19:34
Apparently it was started by an illegal campfire -- I saw the photo of the scene. Idiots. I hope it rains soon -- I'll be hiking alone north-to-south and can barely find my butt with both hands. Something like this has me pretty nervous.

John Kasaian
3-Aug-2014, 21:27
At San Joaquin River Trail Committee meetings they used to joke that there were so many plantations on drip irrigation it would be difficult for a fire to get started up there :rolleyes:

Drew Wiley
4-Aug-2014, 10:27
That river trail barely got started. I doubt that any pot growers are going to be fooling around in that hot steep canyon. They're mostly up there around North Fork and through the Mother Lode north into Mariposa and Tuloumne Counties. A lot of the drugs get flow into rural airstrips. Meth labs are a huge fire danger in those parts. And there are a lot of them. But this past weekend my nephew and a long-time climbing friend took my grand-nephew for his 11th birthday up Half Dome (climbing that is, not via the cable trail). The air was breathable but hazy. But to get away from that afterwards they camped up around Tenaya or Tioga somewhere, where the Yogi bear types were steady pests, just like in the old days, I guess. Thought the park has a little better handle on the bears by now. But I never camp there, so wouldn't know.