Valdosta Daily Times

Breaking News:

National, International News

August 25, 2013

Yosemite takes steps to protect sequoias from fire

GROVELAND, Calif. — Officials are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to protect two groves of giant sequoias as a week-old wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park.

The iconic trees can resist fire, but dry conditions and heavy brush are forcing park officials to take extra precautions in the Tuolumne and Merced groves. About three dozen of the giant trees are affected.

“All of the plants and trees in Yosemite are important, but the giant sequoias are incredibly important both for what they are and as symbols of the National Park System,” park spokesman Scott Gediman said Saturday.

The trees grow naturally only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and are among the largest and oldest living things on earth.

The Tuolumne and Merced groves are in the north end of the park near Crane Flat. While the Rim Fire is still some distance away, park employees and trail crews are not taking any chances.

The fire was well into the northwest corner of the park, the U.S. Forest Service said.

More than 5,500 homes are threatened. Four were destroyed, though officials say the number could go up once they can safely assess burned areas.

Jessica Sanderson said one of her relatives gained access to the family’s property in Groveland, just 26 miles from the park’s entrance, on Saturday and was able to confirm their vacation cabin had burned to the ground.

The family saw firefighters on a TV news report a day earlier defending the cabin.

“It’s just mind-blowing the way the fire swept through and destroyed it so quickly,” said Sanderson, who’s been monitoring the fire from her home near Tampa Bay, Fla. “The only thing left standing is our barbeque pit.”

The Rim Fire has burned nearly 200 square miles — an area about the size of Chicago. It started in a remote canyon of the Stanislaus National Forest Aug. 17 and is just 5 percent contained. Its cause was under investigation.

The fire has grown so large and is burning dry timber and brush with such ferocity that it has created its own weather pattern, making it difficult to predict in which direction it will move.

“As the smoke column builds up it breaks down and collapses inside of itself, sending downdrafts and gusts that can go in any direction,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “There’s a lot of potential for this one to continue to grow.”

The tourist mecca of Yosemite Valley, the part of the park known around the world for such sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and waterfalls, remained open, clear of smoke and free from other signs of the fire that remained about 20 miles away.

More than 2,600 firefighters and a half dozen aircraft were battling the blaze.

The fire is burning toward the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, where San Francisco gets 85 percent of its water, and power for municipal buildings, the international airport and San Francisco General Hospital. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency because of the threats.

Officials with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission were running continuous tests on water quality in the reservoir that is the source of the city’s famously pure water.

Deputy General Manager Michael Carlin told The Associated Press on Saturday that no problems from falling ash have been detected.

“We’ve had other fires in the watershed and have procedures in place,” he said.

The commission also shut two hydro-electric stations fed by water from the reservoir and cut power to more than 12 miles of lines. The city has been buying power on the open market.

A 4-mile stretch of state Route 120, one of three entrances into Yosemite on the west side, remained closed Saturday. Two other western routes and an eastern route were open.

 

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3 1/2 years

    An ex-con who spent most of his adult life behind bars on Thursday got what he said he wanted for robbing a suburban Chicago bank. The 74-year-old gets to go back to the place he called home — prison.

    April 18, 2014

  • Today in History for Friday, April 18, 2014

    Today is Good Friday, April 18, the 108th day of 2014. There are 257 days left in the year.

    April 18, 2014

  • Another arrest made in kidnapping

    Another arrest was made in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, federal investigators said Thursday.
    Quantavious Thompson was taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon, FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in a statement. Details on his arrest weren’t immediately available.

    April 18, 2014

  • Boston Marathon Bombi_Rich copy.jpg Questions linger year after Boston Marathon bombs

    A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP120401029 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 15, the 105th day of 2014. There are 260 days left in the year.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Space Station_Rich copy.jpg NASA OKs space station visit despite dead computer

    NASA is pressing ahead with Monday’s planned launch of a supply ship despite a critical computer outage at the International Space Station, promising the situation is safe.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal Shooting Kansas_Rich copy.jpg 3 dead after suburban Kansas City shooting

    A man opened fire outside a Jewish community center on Sunday, killing two people before driving over to a retirement community a few blocks away and killing someone else, authorities said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seven Dead Babies Arr_Rich(1) copy.jpg Utah woman arrested after 7 dead babies found

    A Utah woman accused of killing several babies she gave birth to over 10 years was arrested Sunday after police discovered seven tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.
    Megan Huntsman, 39, who lived in the Pleasant Grove home until three years ago, had the infants between 1996 and 2006, investigators said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP110714053482 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 14, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 14, the 104th day of 2014. There are 261 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Range Showdow_Rich copy.jpg Feds release cows gathered in Nevada roundup

    Federal land managers confirmed Saturday that they released all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results