San Francisco Strike Teams Heads to Yosemite Fire
By Sylvia Ramirez
Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 1:33pm America/Los_Angeles
SAN FRANCISCO – A strike team from the San Francisco Fire Department is preparing to head to the Yosemite area today to help battle the expanding Rim Fire.
The fire has crossed into Yosemite National Park as of this morning since it started Saturday at nearby Stanislaus National Forest, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
The blaze has charred more 105,000 acres — nearly doubling in size since Thursday night.
Sixteen structures have been destroyed and 4,500 other structures are threatened.
Road closures are in effect, including a shutdown of state Highway 120 that leads into Yosemite, and evacuations have been ordered at nearby communities.
Among the many Bay Area fire crews dispatched to the area, 22 San Francisco Fire Department members are heading to the blaze today, fire spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.
Five engines will be leaving this afternoon from 19th and Folsom streets. A full strike team was requested and includes a team leader and an assistant leader, Talmadge said.
Other San Francisco fire officials and an engine crew arrived at the Rim Fire Wednesday night, she said.
Earlier this week, fire crews were dispatched to Tuolumne County to help monitor San Francisco resources such as powerhouses and other water supply and hydroelectrical equipment.
The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is located in Yosemite National Park and supplies water to millions of Bay Area residents and business.
There have been no reports of ash or other issues with the water supply and delivery system because of the fire, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials said.
The fire was last reported to be 12 miles downstream from the reservoir, SFPUC officials said.
Some electrical power equipment has been shut down because it is in the fire zone, but power is still being generated at one running turbine, officials said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. It was only 2 percent contained with more than 2,000 firefighters responding as of late this morning, according to the forest service.
A community meeting with fire crews — led by the forest service and Cal Fire — will be held at 7 p.m. at Tenaya Elementary School in Groveland.
Fire personnel will give updates on the fire and plans for handling the growing blaze.
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