Yosemite’s Rim fire continued on into its 10th day on Monday, but fire crews were given a small reprieve. The fire reached higher elevations than it has been in, allowing air tankers the ability to drop retardant on accessible ridges.
The blaze’s cause is still unknown, but in a little over a week, it has burned an area the size of Chicago. And unfortunately for fire crews, it shows no signs of abating.
Along with charring almost 161,000 acres, The Los Angeles Times reports that the fire is also threatening two groves of giant sequoias, along with historical structures inside the iconic park.
Firefighters have said that the Rim fire is burning hotter and faster than any other in modern Sierra Nevada history. Officials added that it is the wildfire they have warned about for years.
Containment jumped from seven percent on Sunday to 20 percent on Monday. But Tom Medema, a Yosemite National Park interpretive ranger, commented, “The fire will burn until the snow flies.”
The massive fire near Yosemite has also threatened the main source of San Francisco’s drinking water, Hetch Hetchy reservoir, notes Fox News. But crews are confident they will be able to protect the reservoir and hydroelectric power stations that help turn the lights on in San Francisco.
Nearly 3,700 firefighters are working to contain the Rim fire with bulldozers, aircraft, and burn back techniques. While they have been able to make progress, fire spokesman Lee Bentley explained, “We’re not there yet, but were starting to get a little bit of a handles on this thing.” He added, “It’s been a real tiger. He’s been going around trying to bite its own tail, and it won’t let go but we’ll get there.”
Despite the progress, several treasures remain at stake. Among them are the sequoias, where crews cleared brush and set sprinkles in anticipation of the fire’s possible move closer to them. Crews also bulldozed two massive firebreaks near Tuolumne City to try and protect it. The town is about five miles from the edge of the fire.
But only time will tell for whether their efforts to save them from the massive Rim fire work. There was no news on when they expect the fire to be contained.
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