Did you see the massive Yosemite wildfire?
Potential Threat To Drinking Water Source
The water authorities of San Francisco in California rushed to fill area reservoirs with water from their Sierra Nevada source in anticipation of the wildfire ash near Yosemite National Park tainting the supplies. Wildfire ash from the 234 square mile fire had been falling on the city’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite. Fortunately, the ashes did not sink far enough into the lake to reach intake pumps.
The brave and courageous firefighting crews worked hard to contain one of California’s largest ever wildfires and were able to hold ground against the flames which were already threatening numerous towns near the Yosemite National Park and the historic giant sequoias. The Rim Fire containment more than doubled to 15% although it was within a mile of the park’s reservoir which is the source of San Francisco’s pure drinking water.
The Rim Fire has already turned 15,000 acres of land in Yosemite alone into ash-filled ruins. It had threatened 4,500 buildings nearby including vacation cabins, homes, and businesses, reported by Teresa Garcia of the CBS News team. On the other hand, Stanislaus National Forest spokesman Jerry Snyder informed that crews had been assisted by the fire’s movement into less-forested areas.
The Challenge Of Firefighters
More than 3,400 firefighters faced every challenge in tackling the Rim Fire, battling the blaze from the ground and in the air. The firefighters were only protected by the nomex hoods and firefighting suits or gear made from fabric that has nomex properties such as excellent heat resistance, higher resistance to beta and gamma radiation, to X-rays, and to water or steam at high temperatures and good dimensional stability.
Unending Fire Threat
Hundreds of firefighters put their lives on the line digging trenches, clearing bush and starting back blazes that kept the wildfire out of the mountains. Fire safety officer Sam Lobese said, “Everyone is heads up 24/7 when they’re out here, boots on the ground.” The firefighters were constantly looking up at the trees and watching the smoke columns.
Firefighters were struggling with strong winds, bone-dry conditions, and inaccessible terrain as these restricted their movements and efforts in containing the Rim Fire which started August 17 and has grown to be one of the biggest in the history of California wildfires.
Protecting The Giant Sequoias
Yosemite fire swallowed everything in its path. Also threatened were the giant sequoias which are California’s pride and among the oldest and largest living things on the planet. The National Park Service’s Tom Medema says, “It’s really unthinkable to lose the sequoias.” The giant sequoia trees are one of the reasons why people visit California and as such, they should be protected.
Have we thanked the firefighters enough for their relentless commitment in protecting Yosemite National Park?