Telegraph Fire Saturday Update

August 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
With the charred terrain so steep, PG& E is taking to the air to replace poles downed by the fire.Crews on the ground are also hard at work. But the biggest task is repairing a 150 foot transmission tower that supplies power to parts of Yosemite. Steve Sabol of PG&E said: "Flames were so high and hot it melted the conductors and brought it down to the ground."

Power crews say they should have power restored to all the homes that were spared within 24 hours.

Richard Beccia and his wife are among the homeowners who were spared. "We were fortunate. We dodged a bullet," says Richard.

Beccia was out of town when the Telegraph fire exploded near his home. He returned to see the scorched grass just feet away from his house. "It was nerve-wracking we were praying that we did what Cal fire and CDF told us what we were supposed to do and apparently it paid off."

With no more homes threatened, hundreds of firefighters continued their exodus from Mariposa.

Crews expect to have the fire fully contained by Monday. Sue Exline, US Forest Service, says "We're 90% contained. We have just this small area to take care of."

With more than 34,000 acres, nearly 53 square miles to cover, fire officials say completely containing this fire in just 10 days is quite an accomplishment. "About a month ago we had 300 fires burning across the state, now we have just 30. That means we had more crews, more air tankers, more helicopters to try to fight this fire," says Exline.

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