Popular Yosemite National Park entrance reopens as containment on French Fire grows

Tiffany Olin Image
Saturday, July 6, 2024
French Fire in Mariposa County impacts popular Yosemite National Park entrance, CHP says
A wildfire burning in Mariposa County has forced a highway closure that leads into a popular Yosemite National Park Entrance.

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A popular highway into Yosemite National Park is no longer impacted by an ongoing wildfire in Mariposa County.

The video above is from an earlier version of this story and will be updated.

Highway 140 between Martin and Whitlock roads was closed Thursday night due to the ongoing French Fire.

As of Friday afternoon, it has since reopened with traffic control from Old Highway North to Grojean Road.

"Last night was terrifying," said Marie Matheson, the owner of Lone Wolf Designs in Mariposa.

"I have friends that are on the edges of town and right over there on Bullion and Jones Street and they were dozing their backyards so it was a little scary."

Business owners in the area even lost power overnight-getting it restored by Friday morning.

"Some businesses did close last night and I think there's a couple businesses that are not open today and that's probably due to the fact of a concern of being at their own property to make sure that they're there to make sure it doesn't come close to there so they can get their animals and stuff like that," explained Jacob Hawley, operations manager of the Mariposa Visitor Center.

The fire forcing officials to close Highway 140 late Thursday, a road traveled by many heading up to Yosemite National Park.

That closure weighing heavy on local businesses so fire officials turned their attention to that route.

"We were able to get the fire contained enough along the 140 corridor that we could have localized escorts with CHP to allow 140 to be open for travelers going to and from Yosemite," said Deputy Chief Christopher Trindade, incident commander for the French Fire.

Despite the nearby fire, many businesses remain open.

"Come see us, Matheson said. "We're here, we're resilient. We want you to come visit us because Mariposa is adorable."

"Definitely come here, shop, enjoy yourself, take it easy, be safe drive slow," Hawley said. "Definitely watch what you're doing."

"We want people here, but we want people to be safe," said Jeffrey Shaw, owner of Farmers Insurance in Mariposa.

The community banding together to stay safe.

"I posted this morning saying we're going to be opening up the office. We've got water, we've got Gatorade, we've got snacks and we just have hugs if you even just need a hug," Shaw said.

"We try to take care of ourselves and take care of our friends," Matheson said. "Mariposa is a great community. It's got great people."

A sign saying '#MariposaStrong' can be seen in the window Shaw's agency in town-serving as hope the community will be okay.

"We try just to be, have that mindset at all times and really help each other come together not only as business owners but as a community to be supportive," Shaw said.

The fire has burned 843 acres and is 15% contained. For the latest details on the fire, click here.

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