Ferocious Ferguson fire in California threatens Mariposa—again
One year ago today residents of Mariposa, California, the largest town bordering Yosemite National Park, were evacuated due to the threat of the Detwiler Fire. Although thate fire burned thousands of acres and scorched the area right around the community, no one was killed. The Ferguson Fire today is inching closer to Mariposa and residents are once again on the brink of evacuation. This time, however, there has been a death. A fire crewman was killed on Monday the 16th.
The Ferguson Fire, which began on Friday, July 13, is burning in steep, rugged terrain west of the park in the Sierra National Forest. According to CAL Fire, the Ferguson Fire has burned 12,525 acres and is only 5% contained. Currently the fire is burning south and west along the Merced River canyon. Fire crews are putting their efforts into making sure the fire does not reach either the national park or the homes around the area.
High temperatures have contributed to the fire's growth and the possibility of thunderstorms only exacerbate that growth as lightning strikes and winds can cause new fires to break out or the existing fires to change course.
There have been mandatory evacuations ordered for several areas around the fire. The residents of Mariposa will have to wait to see if they will have to evacuate once again.
NASA satellites captured this image of the fire and smoke blowing from it on July 16, 2018. Actively burning areas (hot spots) are outlined in red. Each hot spot is an area where the thermal detectors recognized temperatures higher than background. When accompanied by plumes of smoke, as in this image, such hot spots are diagnostic for fire. NASA image courtesy of the NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) project. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information CAL Fire and other news agencies.