Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Living Near the Rim Fire

Nine days after the initial report, the Rim Fire continues to change the face of Tuolumne County.  The population of firefighters on the lines is now larger than the normal populations of Groveland (609) and Tuolumne City (1779) combined.  Rim Fire is the 7th largest fire on record in the state, and still burning.

I have woken up daily to the yellow-orange, orange, and one day red-orange tinged sunlight breaking through the window.  The important perishables in the house have been identified, stacked and ready to pack the car once the neighborhood enters into  the state of evacuation advisory.  So far, the house remains a few miles outside of the advisory zone, to the west and south.

I fall into the category of "sensitive persons" for air quality, so an N95 mask has become an important tool, along with lots of water, allergy meds, and albuterol.  The County Office of Education, on recommendation of the Office of Emergency Services, Air Quality Board, and Department of Public Health closed all schools in the county.  We will hear later today if that is to continue tomorrow or possibly through the rest of the week.  If I need to leave the area to get away from the smoke, I'll be leaving as if I was evacuated, with car packed.

Mom has stepped up her volunteer schedule with Interfaith to daily half days instead of twice a week.  With evacuees coming into the area, the agency has been tapped to assist with needs. The local communities are no strangers to wild fires.  They know how valuable the teams are that are on the lines as well as in the background supporting the crews.  It's hard to find someone that lives here who does not directly know a member of CAL FIRE or any of the other local fire agencies on the lines.  Daily Town Hall meetings keep the public directly informed on fire operations as well as create an open venue for direct questions from the public. 

 In a state of emergency, accurate information is critical.  For those of you out of the area seeking information for concern of family and friends,  the following websites, in my personal opinion, are the most accurate websites I have found for reliable information.  CALFIRE Tuolumne-Calaveras and Stanislaus National Forest are the lead organizations on the fire.  Motherlode Fairgrounds and Calaveras Fairgrounds are areas where evacuees can go to wait it out and gain assistance from Red Cross.

MyMotherlode.com - Local news for Tuolumne County.  They know a lot of people are relying on the information they produce on their website and are striving for most accurate reporting for the sake of the communities in the area.

Inciweb.org - Inciweb.org covers all wildfires in the lower 48 states of the US.  This particular page is updated by US Forest Services for Stanislaus Forest.  Inciweb posts daily perimeter maps that can be loaded into Google Earth that provides not only full detail of where the perimeter runs, but also the terrains the teams on the ground and in the air are having to deal with.  You can see that a good portion of the 20% containment is due to granite formations, void of vegetation, that is halting the forward spread in some areas on the north east edge.


CAL FIRE has status for all fires in the state of California, including Rim.


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