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2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Discussion related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby Shawn » Fri Aug 30, 2013 10:16 pm




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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby Tollermom » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:14 am

Shawn...nice map with the wind directions.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:38 am

Does not seem to be spreading much, but the fire did start coming down the switchbacks towards the North shore of Hetch Hetchy. The trail/old road from Eleanor to Hetch Hetchy is now nearly 100% in the burn zone. However, the trail to Beehive and Vernon has not been cut, which after several days of stagnant fireline in solid forest makes me think that there may be some NPS firefighters up there holding a line.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby KathyW » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:10 pm

On Saturday I drove from Ely, NV to Bridgeport, CA and then to Convict Lake. Smoke wasn't an issue until got close to Mono Lake, and then it was really bad - it was about 5 or 6 pm when I got close to Mono Lake. Heavy Rain in the Tonopah area had me skip the backcountry drive into Monitor Valley / Mount Jefferson north of Tonopah and reroute over to near Mount Patterson in the Sweetwaters, but the smoke was so heavy around Bridgeport/Mount Patterson that I turned around and headed south on 395. The smoke was really heavy between Bridgeport and Mammoth. I wasn't willing to sleep in that smoke if I didn't have to. I finally camped at Convict Lake because there was a bit less smoke in that area, but it still was like sleeping next to a campfire with the smell of fire and the smoke in the area. Then yesterday morning I woke up and there was smoke in the sky first thing in the morning; so no hiking for me. I headed south on 395. It was clearer south of Bishop, but still a bit smoky and so dry looking. The scenery isn't very spectacular this year along 395 south of Bishop - just too dry. It's just plain ugly looking between Lone Pine and the Cajon Pass.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby Tom_H » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:11 pm

Currently it's about 6 p.m. on Labor Day. We had two good rains in the Sacramento area today, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The smell of smoke was very distinct in Wilton, but I didn't smell it when I went to north Sacramento near REI.

As the second rain was ending, the sky was clearing to the west and the Coast Ranges were clear. The Crystal Range was obscured, but the air had cleared between here and Yose. I could see the foothills west of Yose. clearly for the first time in days. It looked like a huge thunderhead was gathered directly over the area of the fire (if I have my bearings correct-and I think I am close on them).

I could not find any news reports that were more recent than this morning. Rain was predicted, but also possible lightning. I did read that containment leaped from 35% yesterday to 60% this morning. I cannot find any reports of rain over the fire, but if what happened here is now approaching the fire (as I think it is), things could take a very significant turn for the better.

Official forecast is still for full containment by Sept. 20, but my fingers are crossed that this thing goes out very soon the way the Yellowstone fire did. Though not stated by fire investigators, one county official indicated the fire was human started, likely on a concealed remote (and obviously illegal) pot farm. Further speculation has been that it was run by a Mexican drug cartel, but I couldn't find any evidence of LEOs stating that.

Anyone in the area who can post, many of us surely would like to know what the weather situation is.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby tomba » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:03 pm

Illiouette trail in Yosemite in the vicinity of Mt. Starr King: very smoky Saturday (visibility few hundred meters, smoke creating a cool shade, sun a faint red disc), clear Sunday and Monday.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby markskor » Tue Sep 03, 2013 10:43 am

FWIW,
Just returned from 4 nights Tuolumne...spectacular.
With the fire having closed 120, campground was 80% empty...
Took the free shuttle to Olmsted Point and was the only one there.

A Yosemite supervisor's meeting met - scheduled last night - was to discuss early closing of the road until next spring...today?
Tuolumne store complex scheduled to close on the 15th (in two weeks) but may close sooner (like this week?)...Store hours now 9 - 6.
YARTS may not operate anymore this year if road closing...still should be scheduled weekends in and out Tuolumne but probably not...Leaving a lot of hikers still out on the trail - Mammoth - Yosemite with no way out.

Southern edge of the fire crossed 120...crews (5000) making a last stand by chopping down/ back-burning everything north of 120 from Crane Flat to White Wolf. BTW saved White Wolf/Harding Lake but north of that...gone.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:22 pm

The fire really seems to have stopped advancing on Kibbie for the last few days. Hopefully that is as far as it goes.

Yesterday it broke over the trail from the top of the switchbacks on the way to Beehive--though Beehive itself is a ways off.

There was a charming grove up there at the intersection. Here are photos of two of the areas before they burned:
IMGP1217.jpg
Mixed forest near the top of the Hetch Hetchy switches, now burned.

IMGP1218.jpg
Intersection at the top of the Hetch Hetchy switchbacks, now burned.


Its progress toward the sequoia groves is alarming. Perimeter map has the Tuolumne Sequoias almost surrounded and portions inside the perimeter, including the tunnel tree. Not sure if any have burned--I think we would have seen press although the maps show them inside the burn zone.

EDIT: This is up on the YosemiteNPS Facebook page:

"Giant sequoias are resistant to, and thrive on, frequent small fires that naturally burned every several years. In order to protect the giant sequoias from the extremely intense Rim Fire, crews performed some protective work in the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias just over a week ago (as you can see in this video). Since then, firing operations in the area have provided additional protection. So, while fire maps show the Tuolumne Grove within the fire perimeter, the giant sequoias are safe."

The video is here:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=559177130797240
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Rim Fire Started By Hunter

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 05, 2013 12:45 pm

HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:17 am

The fire certainly is not spreading quickly any more, and with the reopening of 120 through to Crane Flat and the valley public interest has died down.

But it is still spreading some in areas that backpackers care about.

In the Kibbie region, there have been half a dozen or so new hot spots marked on the map over the last couple of days. The fire keeps spreading slowly along the route of the old trail to Flora and has nearly reached the USGS marker at Kibbie at point 7697. Fortunately it has mainly stayed on top of the ridge to the S and SE of Kibbie Lake and has not shown signs of burning downhill to the outlet and waterline. But this fire will have complicated any loops or treks people might want to take to get to Flora.

There have also been a half a dozen new hot spots near the eastern end of Lake Eleanor, and the fire has started creeping up the inlet. This is the drainage that goes up brushy Kendrick Creek and eventually gets to Edith Lake. The fire is a long ways away from Edith at this point, but if this fire flares up in the coming hot weather then I would worry about it being sucked up the Kendrick drainage.

Over in the Laurel Lake to Hetch Hetchy area, it looks very much to me that there could have been some active firefighting. The fire pretty much stopped at the trail, leading me to think that crews might have been dispatched along the trail. I also recall that there may have been an earlier burn in part of this area (near the pond at the top) which also might have something to do with the fire stopping.

The line stopping the fire from spreading to the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne seems to be have held. There is no sign of the fire getting past Harden Lake or White Wolf. There were a few days when it looked likely that it would do so. Still, the Cottonwood Creek trail from Harden over to Hetch Hetchy is 100% in the burn zone.

However, there are a dozen or so new hot spots along the Tioga Road between White Wolf and Crane Flat, and this seems to be the most active area on the entire fire. It appears to me from the maps that they have set backfires on the north side of the highway for much of this distance. Hopefully those backfires will do their job. But next time you drive from Crane Flat to White Wolf, be prepared for a shock.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby kpeter » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:34 pm

UPDATE 2:00 pm Saturday
This is turning into not such a good day. No doubt the higher temperatures (87 degrees) and lower humidity (18%) are making things worse.

1. The satellites show two new hotspots outside of the fire perimeter in the Eleanor Creek canyon north of Laurel Lake. The furthest is halfway between Lake Eleanor and the Kendrick Creek lakes. Let's hope these are isolated, and not the start of burning up another drainage that reaches to Edith.

2. Satellites show a new hot spot outside the fire perimeter south of Harden Lake in Long Gulch, getting very close to White Wolf.

3. Satellites show half a dozen new hot spots south of Tioga road SW of White Wolf near where the backfires seem to have been attempted. Since these are outside the highway/backfire containment efforts, we must hope they can be separately doused, or else the fire line looks like it has failed.
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Re: 2013 Fire & Smoke Reports

Postby rlown » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:14 pm

so there's this: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?sectio ... le-9239981

I'm still mulling a response, but it was prime to burn regardless of cause. Surprised the fed could muster people to actually look at it given the budget cuts.
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