Sierra National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1600 Tollhouse Road
Clovis, CA 93611
Brian Hughes, captain of the Arrowhead Interagency Hotshots out of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, died today in the line of duty on the Ferguson Fire. The fatal incident occurred earlier this morning. Hughes, 33, and his crew were operating in a complex area when he was struck by a tree. He was treated on scene, but passed away before he could be transported to a hospital. Media inquiries regarding Hughes should be directed to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks at 559-565-3704.
Firefighters spent the day mopping up hot spots, containing a minor fire that slopped over a containment line near Eagle Peak, and preparing for nighttime tactical burning. Officials reported the fire grew by 835 acres throughout the day and was at 54,481 acres as of 6 p.m. Containment is at 30 percent.
Firefighters will conduct nighttime tactical firing operations when humidity levels, temperatures and winds are more favorable. Crews will fire lines further south along Wawona Road (Highway 41) from Henness Ridge toward Wawona Campground. Further south, crews secured containment lines around Roundtree Saddles and prepped containment lines for upcoming firing operations toward Chowchilla Mountain and Wawona Campground.
Securing the southeast quadrant of the fire is a priority in keeping the fire from spreading into Yosemite National Park and the more populated areas south of the park.
Firefighters completed firing near the Ferguson rockslide the previous night along the fire’s northwestern corner. Crews will fire from Merced Grove tonight. Firefighters had widened containment lines around Anderson Valley last night in anticipation of the burns.
Residents can expect to see increased smoke during the next few days as these firing operations continue. Tactical firing is an effective way to reduce fuel loads while simultaneously widening or extending containment lines. It can reduce the duration and intensity of wildfires, particularly by decreasing available fuels as the fire approaches containment lines.
During all tactical firing operations on the Ferguson Fire, firefighters and law enforcement maintain a presence in evacuated communities to ensure homes and structures remain safe.
Air quality is likely to decrease as a result of increased smoke from the firing operations. Residents can monitor the latest air quality and health advisories at:
Yosemite National Park closure: Yosemite National Park officials enacted closures July 25 for the Yosemite Valley and Wawona areas, as well as the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. The park is expected to reopen Aug. 3, conditions permitting. For information on Yosemite National Park, go to: nps.gov/yose or call 209-372-0200.
Mandatory Evacuations: Areas that are currently under a mandatory evacuation include:
· Anderson Valley
· Cedar Lodge/Indian Flat Campground
· East Westfall Road and all side roads
· El Portal Trailer Court
· Incline Road from Foresta Bridge to the last BLM campground
· Old El Portal
· Old Yosemite Road
· Ponderosa Basin Community
· Rancheria Flat – Government Housing
· Savage’s Trading Post
· Yosemite View Lodge
· Yosemite West
Advisory Evacuations: This is NOT an Evacuation Order. This is an advisement only of a potential Evacuation Order should conditions change.
· Monte Vista
· Vista Lago
· Triangle Road from East Westfall to Highway 49 South and all side roads
Road Closures:Highway 140 is closed from the entrance of Yosemite National Park to 1.5 miles east of Midpines. Incline Road, River Road from Briceburg to the gate at Railroad Flat and all campground areas along Highway 140, Foresta Road, Anderson Valley Road, Summit Road and Old Yosemite Road are closed.
Triangle Road from East Westfall Road to Highway 49 South.
Chowchilla Mountain Road at Highway 49 South, Harris Road at Highway 49 South, and all roads inside the Ponderosa Basin subdivision.
Wawona Road (Highway 41) between Chilnualna Falls Road in Wawona and Bridalveil Falls Road in Yosemite Valley.
Red Cross Shelters:
· Mariposa Elementary School, 5044 Jones St., Mariposa, CA 95338
· Small animals: Mariposa Elementary School, 5044 Jones St., Mariposa, CA 95338
· Large animals: 5007 Fairgrounds Road, Mariposa, CA 95338