Yosemite Evacuations

August 30, 2009 11:46:48 PM PDT
The big mistake in Yosemite National Park just keeps getting bigger as fire danger is spreading all across the state.For the fifth day in a row, crews are still trying to gain control of the Big Meadow Fire. The blaze started inside Yosemite Park on Wednesday after a prescribed burn grew out of control.

It has now charred more than 4,000 acres. "Our first priority is to put out the fire and the second priority is to get people back into their homes."

The fire is threatening 50 homes, and has forced hundreds of people to evacuate the area.Harvey Holland lives just outside El Portal.

He said if fire crews waited for cooler conditions, this fire could have been prevented. The National Park Service is investigating those claims."I'm real surprised that they decided to do a prescribed burn in august."

"It is hot and windy and dry in August, but to accomplish our objective on this burn which was hazardous fuel burn, we really didn't have any other time we could have done it."

The Big Meadow Fire is one of several fires burning throughout the state.

Fresno County Cal Fire officials admit they're stretched thin.

"With all the fires we have currently we have in Southern California, Yosemite, over towards the coast. Most units within the state have committed resources to all those fires. So we're limiting further resources from going out of area."

Several Fresno County crews are assigned to those fires. Firefighters from different parts of the state are in the Central Valley taking their place. "We have a plan in place that once we get down to certain draw down level of resources; we limit any further equipment from going out of the unit so we can take care of any issues that may arise in this unit."

At this point, there are no plans to send any more Fresno Cal Fire crews to other areas. But if they're needed, they will go.

As for the Big Meadow Fire, it is 50-percent contained Sunday night, with evacuation orders still in place.

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