Mandatory evacuation issued, Highway 41 closed due to the 'Railroad Fire'

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The fire even threatened Sugar Pine Railroad and forced employees to move the historic attraction's trains to safer ground. (KFSN)

LATEST: Guests staying at Tenaya Lodge who need to return to the lodge to retrieve their belongings can meet at the Hwy 41 road closure in Wawona to be escorted to the hotel at 10 a.m.
The blaze was aggressive, fast moving, and relentless; racing up countless trees in the Sierra National Forest that are infested with bark beetle.

The fire even threatened Sugar Pine Railroad and forced employees to move the historic attraction's trains to safer ground.

But Tenaya Lodge, which is a few miles up the road, was in danger too. A family from the Netherlands was staying there until the road closure sent them without their belongings to a hotel in Oakhurst for the night.

"No swimming for us today, unless it's in the nude but it's not allowed over here," said Frank Bakker, tourist from the Netherlands.

Those same road closures along Highway 41 between Cedar Valley Road and Summerdale Campground also created problems for Todd Finnigan. He and his family traveled from England to visit Yosemite.

"Frustrating because we've been driving all day."

The Sierra National Forest said the fire is burning in steep terrain with heavy fuel. They also said hot weather and strong winds made it difficult for crews.

Dan Tune, with the Sierra National Forest, said, "Trees have been weakened so they are coming down, so we have to be real careful with our firefighters putting them out there under some of these things."

Now with 920 acres burned, firefighters who are working throughout the night are hoping a shift in winds will allow them to make more progress.

So far the fire is only five-percent contained.

While 100 structures are threatened there is no word on how many are damaged or destroyed.

Railroad Fire Incident Overview

The Railroad Fire started August 29, 2017 at approximately 1300 hrs. West of Highway 41, near the community of Sugar Pine, South of Yosemite National Park and Fish Camp.

It is a vegetation fire burning on the Sierra NF. The fire is burning in steep terrain, with difficult access and heavy fuel loading. Potential for this fire is high.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for the community of Sugar Pine and Sugar Pine Camp with an evacuation advisory for the community of Fish Camp.

There are 100 structures threatened.

Highway 41 is in a hard closure from Westphal to the South entrance to Yosemite National Park. Yosemite visitors are to use Highway 49 and Highway 140 for entrance to the National Park.

Presently the fire has consumed approximately 920 acres and is 5% contained, cause of the fire is under investigation.

Resources on this fire consist of 26 Fire Engines, 7 Hand Crews, 3 Helicopters, 10 Air Tankers

Total Personnel: 350

Assisting Agencies: CAL FIRE, Madera County Sheriffs Office and Madera County Fire.

Additional resources are on order.
Related Topics:
wildfireYosemite National Park
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