Rim fire spreads in Yosemite, threatening San Francisco power supply

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GROVELAND, Calif.--The Rim fire continued to spread into Yosemite National Park on Saturday, burning more than 125,000 acres and threatening the power supply of San Francisco.

The fire was edging toward communities of Groveland, Pine Mountain Lake and Buck Meadows. Officials ordered parts of Groveland evacuated Friday afternoon.

The Rim fire, which is only 5% contained, destroyed nine structures and is threatening 4,500 more, according to a recent update by the U.S. Forest Service.


Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday night extended a state of emergency to include the city and county of San Francisco because of a threat to utilities.

PHOTOS: Rim fire rages near Yosemite

The governor’s declaration said the wildfire has caused damage to electrical infrastructure serving the city and county of San Francisco.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has been forced to shut down transmission lines, and the city and county could face further damage to water and electrical assets, which could result in the interruption of those services, according to the governor’s declaration.

American Red Cross spokesman Jordan Scott said that on Thursday, 102 evacuees stayed at the evacuation center set up at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora. The center has a 1,000-person capacity.

“The general rule is you get about 10% of the number evacuated,” he said. “I don’t know whether we’ll hit that 10%.”


On Wednesday night, Scott said, volunteers were anticipating about 150 people, but 58 showed up.

He said that because many of the houses under evacuation advisories are vacation homes -- combined with the fact that residents are no strangers to wildfires -- many already have contingency plans in place.

Larry Brown, who was volunteering for the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department, said the Rim fire was “coming in at a close second” to a rash of wildfires that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres throughout the state in 1987.

Four firefighters died battling those blazes, including one in the Stanislaus National Forest who was crushed by a falling tree. Tuolumne County was among the hardest-hit areas.

Nevertheless, Sarno said, most residents seem to be staying calm through the most recent blaze.

“You’ve just sort of got to take it one day at a time,” she said.



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