Update 8/27/2013 0730 hrs PST
The Rim Fire has grown overnight from 160,980 acres listed below, to 179,481 acres as reported at Cal Fire. That number makes it unofficially the 7th largest fire in California, a record which Tuolumne County and Yosemite National Park would be glad to have not made.
The Rim Fire continues to grow in size, but containment is also increased significantly today.
First the good news, today August 26, 2013, the Rim Fire containment lines are up to a full 20%, despite the 15-20 mph winds firefighters put up with today. CalFire reports the Rim Fire, which is now eleven days old, has grown to 160,980 acres.
Much of the western fire flank is under control to a degree. The InciWeb map shows the fire as being three canyons to the east of a sparsely inhabited rural area. (Wards Ferry Rd)
However, the ENPLAN map (zoom in) which is MODIS satellite based, recording heat signatures 1km or greater in diameter, shows spotting out in front of the fire lines, and reaching out toward areas with more homes. (Tuolumne City and Ponderosa Hills subdivision) Fire suppression included setting backfires to slow the fires progress.
The total acreage as of August 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm is 160,980 acres, making the Rim Fire unofficially, the 10th largest fire in California since 1932.
CalFire and the Stanislaus National Forest firefighters, along with the hundreds of firefighters brought in from out of state, have done a great job at protecting property so far. The firefighters have fought against both high heat, low humidity, and increased winds and there are still only 11 homes which have been lost, according to the latest information. With 3,678 personnel in the effort, the results have been very positive.
Governor Brown made an appearance today at the Tuolumne City which was recorded by MyMotherLode and also posted on YouTube. While some in the community have shown some rancor at the Governor for "playing politics" with a disaster, it is true that Governor Brown leveraged his political savvy to gain FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funding and assistance from President Obama, which was released today.
Crews had their hands full today, as the fire crossed Forest Rd 3N01 and moved toward Highway 108 on the western flank, prompting an expanded evacuation advisory all the way north to Pinecrest Lake. The winds also caused three spot fires to break out on the wrong side of the containment lines, which were being worked on by dozer crews.
The fire also advanced toward and inside Yosemite National Park on the east side of the fire and the west side of the fire. Mandatory evacuations south of Highway 120 and north of Old Yosemite Road in Mariposa County remain in effect.
The forest land has been denuded where the fire passed through, and the winter rains plus the snow are on the way. There will be no time for reforestation efforts, no time for hillside stabilization efforts and it seems likely there will serious runoff problems for the lakes and streams in the burnt areas.
The extent of the devastation in the back country has yet to be ascertained, but the affects will linger on for decades, until the forest grows back, just as it did after the 1987 Stanislaus Complex Fire in the same general area.