The summer Rim Fire wiped out 250 acres of prime Sierra forest. It will take 20+ years of growth to see much difference. The fire jumped CA Highway 120. This is one of the major roads to Yosemite from the populous San Francisco Bay area. Many drive up via 120 and still others fly into SFO, rent a car then take 120 to get to the park.
You can imagine the heart generated over the road as well as the damage to support signage and the guard rails. Caltrans had crews helping the fire brigades as well as keeping an eye on the physical structure of the roadway. The worst damage was in the eight miles east of Buck Meadows. At the recent Yosemite Gateway partners meeting, Caltrans gave a presentation on their involvement with the fire. The highway was closed for weeks and Yosemite closed the Hodgden Meadows gate. After the danger passed, the highway crews assessed the damage and saw the devastation to the road. They worked hard and long hours to get the vehicle flow along the highway moving.
They had to replace 785 guard rail wooden support posts. Not so much because of the heat itself, but the foot high wood supports were burned and useless to hold up the metal rails. Signs were destroyed and 40 had to be replaced. It took 50 workers to accomplish this and 40 major pieces of equipment were used. The roadway itself was actually paved before the fire, during a road repair project. It is very smooth now. The total spent by Caltrans ontghe fire was $1.2M.
I was on Highway 120 a day after it reopened and again in December. Noticeable was the sprayed on hydro seeding. It looks brownish and is used to help stabilize the earth against water runoff. The recent rains may have helped or hurt the project. If you have seen it, please comment.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “When she awoke, the world was on fire.” – Scott Westerfeld, Uglies
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com