August 26, 2013

The massive Yosemite Fire burned through 134,000 acres in nine days as it pushed closer to Yosemite National Park on Monday. The blaze is the 15th largest in California history, and is still only 7 percent contained. Firefighters have had difficulty reaching some parts of the fire, especially as it burned through parts of previously untouched wilderness and through hot and dry conditions. “The fire came boiling out, just cooking,” said Lee Bentley, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. “It was so hot it created its own weather. It was like dropping a boulder in a pond; fire spread out in every direction.” Parts of the blaze burned through so much that firefighters called the devastation “the black,” as entire ravines and ridges became dusty and gray.

Park officials say the blaze is approaching the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of San Francisco's drinking water.


"At the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission had to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations because of the fire. On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown extended a state of emergency to include the county and city of San Francisco.

The fire has destroyed nine structures and is threatening thousands more.

It's also changed things that are harder to quantify.

Groveland's local swimming hole is Rainbow Pools. In years like this, when the water is low, swimmers dive beneath the waterfall. Those wearing goggles can spot big trout — most of them wearing hooks, indicating they once got away from a fisherman.

"Rainbow Pools is — was — so beautiful," said Eric Edner, a Groveland resident who creates blown glass. "You jump off the rocks into the water and it's the most fun in the world. They say it's completely black now."'

There is still no mention of an expected containment date. If only it would rain...

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