Thousands attend the Mariposa County Fair despite the Rim Fire

September 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Rim Fire created very smoky conditions around the Valley over the past several days. It also covered the sky in the foothills leading up to the Mariposa Fair.

Organizers were concerned about smoke from the Rim Fire blanketing the area around the Mariposa County Fair, but they say the winds blew just in time and cleared the skies for opening day.

Enthusiasm is never in short supply at the Mariposa Fair, and nearly everyone who shows up always has a favorite attraction. Five-year-old Cody is a champion horse stick rider.

"It's where there's head of a horse and it's glued to a stick," Cody said.

Darlys Tippie and her husband come to the Mariposa Fair because they love the small, tight knit community. This year the couple hit up the event on Monday to avoid any bad air.

"That's why we came today because we knew it was more likely to be not smoky today," Tippie said.

The weather played a crucial role in improving the air quality in the foothills over the past several days.

"If the wind direction changed where we had an inversion the smoke could have impacted us but luckily that didn't happen and we had great weather," Brian Bullis from Mariposa Fair and Homecoming said.

The U.S. Forest Service updates people in Mariposa on their progress fighting the flames. At the peak of the Rim Fire they saw flames burned through more than 50,000 acres in just one night.

"Kind of unprecedented one evening, the fuels are really dry and lined up for the worst case scenario," Timothy Evans with the U.S. Forest Service said.

At one point firefighters from 41 states were called in to help. Some came from as far away as Alaska. But they are now gaining ground on the fire.

About 30,000 people hit up the Mariposa Fair every year but organizers believe this year was a record, and more people showed up than ever.


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