Rim fire to close Tioga Road through holiday weekend

A crew member on the International Space Station took this image of the Rim fire on Monday — using a 50mm lens. Good view of Lake Tahoe and Nevada's Pyramid Lake to the left of the smoke plume, Mono Lake and Walker Lake (Nevada) to the right of the fire. Click the photo to see larger

The Rim fire continued to spread Tuesday into Yosemite National Park, growing to 184,481 acres with just 20 percent containment. An evacuation advisory continues on the Highway 108 corridor from Tuolumne City to Pinecrest. Yosemite also announced that the vital Tioga Road would close Wednesday at noon and likely remain closed through the Labor Day weekend. The closure would occur between Crane Flat and White Wolf, so there will still be holiday access to the high country of Tuolumne Meadows from U.S. 395 and the town of Lee Vining. But travel between the Eastern Sierra communities and Yosemite Valley — and beyond into central California — would be cut off. The road closure is necessary "to perform fire suppression activities along the road," said the incident command post.

“The work that will be performed over the next few days is instrumental in suppressing the Rim Fire within Yosemite," said Yosemite superintendent Don Neubacher. "The safety of the firefighters working along the road is our paramount concern."

The Tamarack Flat and Yosemite Creek campgrounds, White Wolf campground and White Wolf Lodge will remain closed. The Merced and Tuolumne Groves of giant sequoias also are closed so firefighters can work on preventive fire suppression efforts. "The groves are not currently in imminent danger," Yosemite said in an afternoon update. All services at Tuolumne Meadows remain open. Yosemite Valley can still be reached from the west side of the Sierra Nevada using highways 41 or 140, the park said.

A fund to help the park restore trails, facilities, and wildlife habitat has been established by the Yosemite Conservancy.

Also today, UC Berkeley's California magazine posted an explainer on why this fire burns hotter than previous Sierra fires.


Here's a NASA Earth Observatory composite of night views showing the fire encroaching further into Yosemite National Park, which is marked on the images.


Also this impressive sight (with sound) from a California Air National Guard plane approaching the fire over the Sierra Nevada on August 22:

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
Recent Sierra stories on LA Observed:
'There’s something sacred about this place'
New tarantula near Folsom Prison named for Johnny Cash
Ahwahnee Hotel, Curry Village to get new names
Sierra snowpack is more than double last year at this time
Mammoth gets 3 feet of snow, plans to open Thursday
Ansel Adams' Manzanar photos are in town
Sierra snowpack was probably the worst in 500 years
Is the drought killing the giant Sequoias? (video)