Yosemite park fire empties casino, ranches
By The Associated Press
Published: Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, 8:33 p.m.
GROVELAND, Calif. — At Ike Bunney's dude ranch near the Sierra community of Tuolumne City, all creatures have been evacuated as firefighters brace for an intense battle to keep a wildfire raging north of Yosemite National Park out of mountain communities.
“We've already evacuated the horses,” said Bunney. “I think they're worried about the fire sparking over these hills.”
As flames leapfrogs across the vast, picturesque Sierra forests, residents in the fire's path are moving animals and children to safety.
The blaze has moved northeast away from Groveland, where smoke gave way to blue skies on Sunday. But at Tuolumne City's Black Oak Casino, the slot machines were quiet as emergency workers took over nearly all of the resort's 148 hotel rooms.
“The casino is empty,” said casino employee Jessie Dean, who left her four children at relatives' homes in the Central Valley.
Hundreds of firefighters were deployed on Sunday to protect Tuolumne City and other communities in the path of the Rim fire. Eight fire trucks and four bulldozers were deployed near Bunney's ranch on the west side of Mount Baldy, where two years of drought have formed tinder-dry conditions.
The fire continues burning in the remote wilderness area of Yosemite, but park spokesman Tom Medena said it's edging closer to the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water.
Despite ash falling like snowflakes on the reservoir and a thick haze of smoke limiting visibility to 100 feet, the quality of the water piped to the city 150 miles away is still good, say officials with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The city's hydroelectric power generated by the system has been interrupted by the blaze, forcing the utility to spend $600,000 buying power on the open market.
Park employees are continuing their efforts to protect two groves of giant sequoias that are unique to the region by cutting brush and setting sprinklers, Medena said.
The fire has consumed more than 209 square miles of forests. Officials estimate containment at just 7 percent.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Imam’s influence detailed as NYC terror trial begins
- National Portrait Gallery features abstract expressionism of familiar faces
- Husband accused in slaying ate pot candy, police say
- Deal reached in Ukraine crisis talks, but U.S. remains wary of Russia’s end game
- Obamacare estimates beaten by 1M
- Heroin-related deaths set record in Ohio
- Clinton donor pleads guilty in illegal campaign contributions
- Another arrest made in abduction of N.C. prosecutor’s father
- Reid calls Nevada rancher’s supporters ‘terrorists’ over armed confrontation
- Scientists achieve cloning advance for use in treating diseases
- Law firm that cleared Christie recently gave $10K to GOP governors group