Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rim Fire suppression costs exceed $100 million

Environment News Service: The cost for battling a three-week old wildfire both within and outside Yosemite National Park has reached $100.4 million. Although fire officials say the Rim Fire is 80 percent contained, the fire has burned 254,000 acres, or 398 square miles, and is still intensifing within the containment area.

Hot and extremely dry conditions combined with shifting winds and low humidity continue to plague firefighters. U.S. Forest Service officials say more than 3,500 personnel continue to patrol, mop-up, and monitor all areas of the fire in addition to the developed areas inside the fire perimeter and those adjacent to it.

Pockets of vegetation burning within the perimeter are creating the potential for spot fires outside the containment lines. Some 1,285 structures remain threatened in areas near the perimeter to the north, south, and southeast of the fire.

The National Fire Incident Information System confirmed in a statement Thursday that the Rim Fire began on August 17 after a hunter allowed an illegal fire to escape. Investigators from the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office are withholding the hunter’s name pending further investigation. No arrests have been made at this time, and there are no indications that the hunter was involved with illegal marijuana cultivation. There are currently no mandatory or advisory evacuation orders effective in Mariposa or Tuolumne Counties....

The Rim Fire seen from a plane, shot by LiAnna Davis, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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