The Rim fire almost at Hetch Hetchy

The winds continue to blow east pushing the fire right at the reservoir. It’s a mile from Hetch Hetchy, 3 from Hodgdon Meadow, 7 from White Wolf, and the valley is less than 20 miles from the flames. At 134,000 acres, the fire is 7% contained.

Blog Reader Maureen L. was in the area a few days after it started to grow. Here’s her First Person account: 

“I stayed at White Wolf Lodge, the week of August 19.  I drove up from the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday, arriving a few miles east of Groveland right after the fire had jumped route 120.  I took a longer way to the park, and when I got to the intersection of the Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Road, traffic out of the park was being diverted back the way I had come. On the last part of my journey up Tioga Road to White Wolf, there were lightning flashes, thunder crashes, and rain. 

The weather was unusually warm in the High Country Monday through Wednesday night, along with clouds, some thunder, and bits of rain.  By nightfall, the strange weather system moved out, to be replaced by clear skies, seasonal temperatures, and high winds.  On Thursday, I got a good look at the smoke cloud from the trail to North at the Porcupine Creek trailhead.   

The Rim fire last week.

The Rim fire last week.

By Thursday afternoon, there was significant haze along the western part of the Tioga Road.  Still, everyone on staff was saying we were all safe and the fire was far away.   It was cold enough Thursday night to cause the smoke to settle, and there was not as much smoke on Friday. 

The beginning of days of smoke to come

The beginning of days of smoke to come

Yes, this fire is big, and is getting national notice because San Francisco exploits the Tuolumne River in the Park for water and electric power.  Yosemite is a big park, 750,000 acres.  So the Park Service and DNC are correct when they emphasize that most of the park is open and smoke free, as you can see from the Yosemite Conservancy webcams.  

I hope that the Tuolumne and Merced groves of Giant Sequoias are little affected. But I think it’s also good to remember that fire is an essential part of the life cycle of the forest.  The fire will provide mineral-rich soil for the seeds released by cones opened by the fire’s heat. The forest will regrow. “ 

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “…everything in Nature called destruction must be creation – a change from beauty to beauty.”  – John Muir 

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch –

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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4 Responses to The Rim fire almost at Hetch Hetchy

  1. bruckner says:

    Thanks for the report Maureen! And thanks for all you do Mr. HD! It’s reassuring to hear that all this devastation is actually essential. I’ve got a dome permit for Thursday so I’m on pins and needles (as you might imagine). As a long time reader of this blog (and One Best Hike book purchaser), I feel prepared for the adventure ahead. But at 7% containment, I’ve gotta feel the Rim Fire is only going to get worse before it gets better.

    • I’d say go for it. I also head up in a couple weeks….it’s iffy.

    • Maureen L says:

      You can trust the Conservancy webcams when they show the air clear around Half Dome.

      Hiking to Half Dome from the Happy Isles trailhead shouldn’t be affected by the Rim Fire once you’re in the Park.

      • bruckner says:

        Ah, shucks. I’m going to miss the great Mr. Half Dome by a couple weeks. That would have been nuts seeing you there!

        And I have been checking those webcams religiously 🙂 Mostly been trying to spot a deer in the Ahwahnee Meadow shot (no luck so far).

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