Hetch Hetchy reservoir and water supply in California is now being threatened by the Yosemite National Park wildfire. The “Rim Fire” has already destroyed 160,000 acres of land, and now the city of San Francisco’s water supply is in jeopardy of being compromised, says an Aug. 27 Reuters report carried by the Huffington Post.
U.S. Forest Service spokesman Trevor Augustino reported yesterday that the blaze “made a good run to the park.” Firefighters are making headway; reports indicate they have the fire under 20 percent containment, up from 15 percent earlier in the week.
The eastern flank of the fire is now burning dangerously close – only a half mile – to Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy reservoir on the Tuolumne River. The Hetch Hetchy is the primary source of the water consumed by San Francisco’s 2.6 million residents.
Although the fire line has not breached the reservoir, ash has begun to fall into the water source. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Gautier assured residents that their water, thus far, is safe. Water testing will continue until the fire has burned itself out or no longer remains a threat to the reservoir.
“There continues to be no change or impact to water quality or delivery from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir,” the utilities commission said in a statement.
According to Reuters, while only a dozen homes have been destroyed by the Rim Fire, over 4,500 remain in jeopardy. The cause of the wildfire has not yet been determined, but hot and dry weather continues to challenge fire management. Close to 8,000 firefighters are working around the clock to control the blaze.