Yosemite Fire Causes San Francisco Utilities Emergency

The massive fire burning near Yosemite National Park has caused a state of emergency in San Francisco. The giant wildfire threatens the city’s utilities.

The fire is currently burning uncontrolled and covers a massive 200 square miles as of Friday night. As a result of the utilities threat, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency.

The blaze has already caused the closure of some backcountry hiking and also caused several evacuations, reports USA Today. However, officials assured it doesn’t threaten the Yosemite Valley region.

But while it wasn’t a danger to the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations, it does pose a threat to power lines and stations that provice San Francisco with its electricity.

Because of this, Brown, who already declared a state of emergency for the region affected by the Yosemite fire, extended the declaration to include the entire state.

The Associated Press notes that the massive Rim Fire has caused San Francisco to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations near the fire. The Yosemite-area Hetch Hetchy reservoir, from which the city gets about 85 percent of its water, has not yet been affected.

City power officials and Governor Brown announced that, while the city has been able to buy power on the open market and use some of its existing supplies, further disruptions or damage could have an effect on the city’s electricity.

The state of emergency declaration will allow San Francisco to get additional funds and resources. It also makes the city eligible for more federal funds to help with possible water shortages and power outages.

The Yosemite fire has now been burning for a week and is only five percent contained. Crews have been hampered by high wind and the fact that the fire is burning in all directions. It is threatening more than 5,500 residences and destroyed four homes and 12 outbuildings so far.

[Image via ShutterStock]

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