The Yosemite Rim Fire Staggers Imagination
The Rim Fire
Millions visit California's natural wonder, Yosemite (pronounced- yo-sem-it-tee) National Park, with its stunning mountains, forests and rock formations to climb. Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and its valley amazes many visitors.
Now, the upper section of the park is in a hellstorm of fire consuming over 343 square miles (the size of Chicago) of undetermined nature. The Tioga Road in Yosemite, the Hwy 120 over the Sierra Mountains are closed. This road in good times, will take you past huge granite formations and scenic vistas that simply inspire you.
Fighting the fire is an army of 5000 firefighters from across California and others. There are 300 fire engines and 14 helicopters.The fire has consumed over 200 telephone poles that PGE must replace to carry communications and electrical lines. The vast area makes it very difficult to fight the fire and the weather and wind play havoc.
Up to recently, the valley, where nearly all tourists go into for lodging, food and camping, remains open because the fire is located in the remote upper portions of the park. The fire has been burning for two weeks and is 60% contained. Air operations include an army of aircraft dropping fire retardant onto the blaze. Inside the valley, tourists are now starting to leave because the wind direction has changed and the smoke is now entering the valley area preventing one to see the mountains surrounding it. The smell is very present now, though the fire itself, is nowhere near the valley. Rangers are now informing hikers and others to curb their activities if they have breathing problems.
The fire efforts are expected to go on for another three weeks.