2017-08-24 / Front Page

Tree mortality contributing to issues with Railroad Fire

Community meeting set for Thursday evening in Oakhurst

The Railroad Fire burning in the Sierra National Forest has grown to 1,900 acres.
In addition, forest officials are saying tree mortality in the area is making conditions difficult.
A community meeting for residents of the area is set for tonight at 7 p.m. at the Oakhurst Community Center, 39800 Fresno Flats Rd.
The latest information from the forest service is that 100 structures are threatened by the blaze. Officials said seven structures have been destroyed by the fire.
Evacuations remain in place for the communities of Sugar Pine, Sugar Pine Camp and Fish Camp. Fish Camp is located in Mariposa County while Sugar Pine is in Madera County. The fire began in Madera County near the Mariposa County line within forest boundaries.
Highway 41 is in a hard closure from Cedar Valley Drive to the south entrance of Yosemite National Park. Also, Highway 41 is closed from Wawona to the south entrance.
Overnight, officials said “good progress” was made because of reduced wind speeds and moderating temperatures. The fire is 5 percent contained.
As of Thursday morning, there were 26 fire engines, seven hand crews, two helicopters and three air tankers working the fire. Total personnel was 350.
Earlier Thursday, the Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team took over command of the fire.
Officials did say in a morning press release the fire will continue to spread north and east within the community of Fish Camp and to Yosemite Mountain Ranch property.
Tree mortality concerns are also prevalent because of the fire.
“Tree mortality is creating an increased safety risk for fire personnel engaged on this fire,” the forest service said in its statement. “Personnel are reporting tree failures occurring at high rates after being weakened by fire passage.”
They also said the fire is burning in steep terrain with heavy fuel loads.
“Potential for this fire is high,” the forest service said in the release.
Combined with two other fires burning in Yosemite, smoke in the region remains heavy. The smoke is the heaviest in the morning hours. Forest service officials said smoke plumes will continue to be present because of weather conditions.
For the latest updates from the forest service, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5553.
Submitted photo by U.S. Forest Service
Crews continue to battle the Railroad Fire, which has now grown to 1,900 acres. Tree mortality is a major concern for fire officials from the U.S. Forest Service.Submitted photo by U.S. Forest Service Crews continue to battle the Railroad Fire, which has now grown to 1,900 acres. Tree mortality is a major concern for fire officials from the U.S. Forest Service.

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