The Railroad Fire from Bass Lake on September 1, 2017
|Location||Sierra National Forest, California, United States|
|Date(s)||August 29, 2017– October 24, 2017|
|Burned area||12,407 acres (50 km2)|
The Railroad Fire was a wildfire that burned in between the communities of Sugar Pine and Fish Camp in the Sierra National Forest in California in the United States. The fire was reported on August 29, 2017. The cause of the fire is currently unknown. The fire has burned 12,407 acres (50 km2), before it was fully contained on October 24. The fire has threatened communities in the area, historic buildings in the Nedler Grove Historic Area, Tenaya Lodge Resort, and Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad, which the fire was named after. It also impacted tourism and air quality in the forest and Yosemite National Park.
The Railroad Fire was reported on August 29, 2017 in the area between the communities of Sugar Pine and Fish Camp the Sierra National Forest. The cause is unknown. On September 3, mandatory evacuations were ordered for the Sky Ranch Road area due to the fire being spread towards residential areas after a storm, along with the Cedar Valley Subdivision. On Labor Day, crews wrapped historic structures in the Nelder Grove Historic Area, including cabins dating back to the late 1800s, in protective, heat-shielding material.
As of September 7, Pacific Gas & Electric began working to re-establish electricity in the fire area and increased humidity overnight helped slow the fire. By September 10, the fire had burned 12,358 acres (50 km2) and was 70% contained, with 1,035 personnel fighting the fire. Crews were pulled from the fire lines on the evening of September 11 due to thunderstorms that brought a quarter inch of rain into the area. On October 24, the wildfire was fully contained.
The air quality in the area has declined rapidly due to the fire, which is burning along with two others in the region. Yosemite National Park reported that air quality was "unhealthy" in the park as of September 6. Additionally, the US Forest Service reported that air quality was "hazardous" in Wawona. That same day, Yosemite High School released students early from school due to poor air quality.
Closures and evacuations
Three Sierra National Forest campgrounds are closed: Summerdale, Big Sandy and Nelder. As of June 9, 2018, Big Sandy and Nelder campgrounds are open. The Shadow of the Giants loop trail in Nelder Grove is closed by order of the Forest Service due to hazard trees, burned bridges, destabilized trail soils, and two large open holes where pit toilets burned. (order No. 05-15-51-18-01, dated May 22, 2018, by Dean A Gould, Forest Supervisor)
- "Railroad Fire". Railroad Fire. Sierra National Forest, US Forest Service. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- "Incident Report". Incident Information System. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
- "Evacuation Order Issued for Sky Ranch Road and Cedar Valley". InciWeb. Sierra National Forest, US Forest Service. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- Grundhauser, Eric (6 September 2017). "To Shield Historic Cabins From Wildfire, Wrap Them in Foil". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- "Morning Update 9/12/17". InciWeb. Sierra National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
- "Yosemite National Park clouded in smoke due to wildfires". KCRA. 6 September 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- "Yosemite High School students released early due to heavy smoke". ABC30 Fresno. 6 September 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
- Media related to Railroad Fire at Wikimedia Commons