Yosemite July Lightning Fire Update #1 - July 24, 2014
Since July 14, Yosemite National Park has experienced over 3,000 lightning strikes with more than 21 fire starts. Multiple thunderstorms, accompanied by rain, have put out or temporarily slowed activity and growth. Most fires are between 8000’ and 9000’ elevation. They are small, creeping and smoldering surface fires or single logs less than 1/10 of an acre and are showing minimal activity. Of 1,004 fires above 8,000’ since 1930, 941 never got to be 10 acres. Most of these fires have few values at risk an pose little threat to people or park infrastructure. As the weather warms and fuels dry out it is likely other fires will be found. All fires are being monitored by fire crews.
Fires Managed for Multiple Objectives: Yosemite fire management is developing strategies for these fires and depending on risk assessment; most of these current fires will be naturally extinguished. Fire crews will utilize natural barriers of granite, streams or open ground to manage fires. The Fire Management Plan allows the park to manage any fire outside of the suppression unit.
Dark Hole: (37 48.323 x 119 36.786, Mariposa Co. 7400’, July 16.) This fire has grown to approximately 11 acres. It is within a red fir forest and it is the largest and most active of all the park-wide fires. It is located near the Yosemite Creek trail about a mile south of the Yosemite Creek campground. It is in an area of past lightning fires, although the immediate area has no fire history. Smoke is visible from Tioga Road east of Yosemite Creek, and from Sentinel Dome and Glacier Point. Hazards may include smoky conditions and poor visibility, rolling rocks and logs. There is one trail closure: The Lukens trail to Yosemite Creek trail is closed between Tioga Road and Yosemite Creek Campground Road and Trail. The Yosemite Creek Tail remains open. To avoid smoke and other hazards, hikers are urged to pass through the area quickly.
Lukens: (37 51.514 x 119 37.080, Tuolumne Co., 8310’, July 15) A single log is burning within a red fir forest near Lukens Lake.
Morrison (37 53.117x119 37.153 - Tuolumne Co., 8740’ July 15) This is a surface fire smoldering and creeping through forest needle litter in a red fir forest.
Starr King (37 43.215x119 28.108 Mariposa Co., 8730’, July 16) This is on the east side of Mount Starr King. It is creeping and smoldering through red fir. It is periodically visible from Washburn Point.
Cathedral (37 51.843x119 23.720 – Tuolumne Co. 9140’, July 16) This high elevation fire is smoldering in a single log. It is west of Cathedral Peak.
Lembert (37 53.159x119 19.059 – Tuolumne Co. 9250’, July 16) This smoldering and creeping surface fire is east of Lembert Dome in a lodgepole pine forest. It is has not been active, is not visible and may be out.
Moraine (37 37.195x119 25.126 – Madera Co. 9480’, July 14) This high elevation fire in red fir is not showing any activity.
Coyote (37 48.53 x 119 32.26 - Mariposa Co. 9000’ Start July 19). This was a single snag in granite. It has low potential to grow.
Wolf (37 51.644 x 119 38.684 – Tuolumne Co. 8200’ July 17) This is a surface fire showing little fire activity in red fir & lodgepole pine.
Rancheria (59.014 x 119 335.625 - Tuolumne Co. 8200’July 19) This remote fire, north of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, remains active and is .25 acre in size. It is within a Jeffrey pine, lodgepole pine forest. It has moderate to high potential for growth and is within the 1948 Rancheria Fire footprint.
Wapama (37 58.134 x 119 44.983 – Tuolumne Co. 5530’ July 19) This fire is at the top of Wapama Falls on the north Rim of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. It is active and at .25 acre in Jeffrey pine and live oak.
Royal (37 39.232 x 119 30.452 – Madera Co. 9000’, July 20) A single tree was struck by lightning and the smoldering fire is surrounded by granite. It is south of Glacier Point.
Red (37 39.71 x 119 26.67 – Madera Co. 8030’, July 20) A single tree was struck and it has low potential for growth. This fire is near Red Peak within the Illilouette basin, south of Glacier Point.
McGurk (37 41.589 x 119 36.884 – Mariposa Co. 7020’, July 20) The top of a White Fir tree was struck by lightning. The strike tree is at the top of Bridalveil Falls on the south rim of Yosemite Valley. The smoldering fire is not showing fire activity.
Falls (37 59.358 X 119 45.022 – Tuolumne Co. 6160’, July 20) This fire is near the north rim of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. It remains active.
Gibson (37 59.466 X 119 44.440 – Tuolumne Co. 6450, July 20) This fire is between Falls Creek and Mt. Gibson on the north rim of Hetch Hetchy and surrounded by granite. It remains active in black oak & Sierra juniper.
Lookout (37 38.98 x 119 28.734 – Tuolumne Co. 5,200’ July 20) This fire is near the North Mountain fire lookout. This fire is within the Rim Fire footprint in a ponderosa pine forest. This fire is showing little activity.
Lightning Fires Identified for Suppression: These fires either at high elevation or threatened communities. These fires will continue to be patrolled by fire crews:
Woodlot (37 40.527x119 47.835 – Mariposa Co., 2050’ July 20.) This fire had high potential to grow and threatened the community of El Portal. Quick initial actions by fire crews kept this fire to less than 4 acres. Fire crews will continue to patrol the area.
Buck (37 32.914 x 119 29.982 – Madera Co. 7920’ July 20) A single tree was struck near the southern park boundary at the upper end of the South Fork Merced River. It was in a red fir forest. This fire was put out by Yosemite Helitack crews.