I found this very interesting site:http://tmappsevents.esri.com/website/ri ... tives-map/
The part I found most illuminating was the 3rd feature, which allows you to map the Yosemite National Park fire history. You can see the Kibbie Complex Fire outline from 2003 (went up Kibbie Ridge and reached the West shore of Kibbie Lake), the Frog fire from 2006 (surrounded Laurel Lake went up Morraine Ridge), etc.
This makes it very clear why the Rim fire did not go further north and get to Laurel Lake. Its northern boundary is almost identical to the southern boundary of the Frog Fire.
Unfortunately, the area south of Kibbie and north of Morraine Ridge has not burned before, so that is why this fire threatens some of our favorite areas.
Also interesting is that the Rim fire burned right over the huge Ackerson fire from 1996 in the whole Cottonwood Creek/south of Hetch Hetchy area. That was only 17 years ago--I doubt that the trees that were regrowing from 1996 were tall enough to escape the brush fire, so it sounds like that the clock will be reset on regrowing from the Ackerson fire.
To get an idea of how fires are managed in NW Yosemite, I went back and read newspaper accounts of the Kibbie fire of 2003.http://www.uniondemocrat.com/News/Local ... -clear-air
Apparently lightning set off about 5 fires along Kibbie Ridge on July 29, 2003. These fires were allowed to burn together and they kept going until October 3, 2003. They were only extinguished when the smoke began to blow back and anger people in the central valley. Obviously the Kibbie Ridge trail was closed during this time. Anyone who has hiked the Kibbie Ridge trail since 2003 can tell you what the effects of this slow "low-intensity" fire were--it certainly did kill many trees that are still falling across the trail with every windstorm. But it did not sterilize the ground the way that the Rim Fire did on August 21 and 22.
The fires that are still smouldering are probably a lot more like the Kibbie Complex fire at this point than they are like the center of the Rim Fire. But anyone who expects the current fire to prune brush while leaving forests intact--well, take a look at Kibbie Ridge.