Firefighters are performing tactical burns to help move toward progressing suppression of the Ferguson Fire.

These tactical burns are a way of fighting fire with fire. Tactical burns reduce duration and intensity of wildfires by decreasing fuels and weakening the fire as it heads toward containment lines by reducing fuel loads and extending or widening the containment lines.

Fire crews performed burns south along Wawona Road from Henness Ridge toward Wawona Campground. These operations are expected to continue until crews reach Wawona Campground and for as long as weather permits.

Crews mopped up fire spots from earlier in the day while also building containment lines around Roundtree Saddle. Once Roundtree Saddle is secure, the crews will begin tactical firing toward Chowchilla Mountain and Wawona Campground.

The southeast quadrant is the priority for firefighters to ensure that the fire does not spread into Yosemite National Park and the populated areas south of the park. It will also ensure that Ponderosa Basin and the surrounding areas will be secure as well.

In order to keep the fire from spreading into Yosemite National Park and populated areas south of the park, fire crews must be secure the southeast quadrant of the fire. Their efforts would also ensure Ponderosa Basin and the surrounding areas would also be secure.

From the northern side of the fire, crews burned south from Merced Grove to provide further protection of the giant sequoias.

Pilot Ridge will see these burns as fire crews burn off the road and along the Mariposa-Tuolumne County line today. Anderson Valley’s containment lines were widened in anticipation for the burns.

Due to the firing operations, residents are expected to see more smoke during the next few days.

As of 6 a.m. on July 30, the Ferguson fire is at 30 percent containment with 56,659 acres burned. There are 224 engines, 47 water tenders, 14 helicopters, 92 crews, 77 dozers, and 3,766 personnel at the scene.

Closures in Yosemite National Park:

Yosemite National Park put official closures into place on July 25 and were originally expected to end on July 29. However, the temporary closure was extended to August 3, conditions permitting.

The closure is due to smoke impacts and firefighting operations along El Portal Road and Wawona Road due to the Ferguson Fire.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Wawona Road from the south entrance of Yosemite National Park to Tunnel View will remained closed until further notice. This is due to firefighting operations along Wawona Road.

Other closures include Glacier Point Road, Bridalveil Creek Campground, the Wawona Campground, and the Merced Grove of Giant Sequoias.

Places that remain open include the Hetch Hetchy area, Big Oak Flat Road to Crane Flat and Tioga Road from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass remain open to all visitors and vehicles. Trails and campgrounds along Tioga Road, which includes Tuolumne Meadows Campground, remain open along with visitor services along Tioga Road.

Mandatory Evacuations:

  • Anderson Valley
  • Cedar Lodge/Indian Flat Campground
  • East Westfall Road and all side roads
  • El Portal Trailer Court
  • Foresta
  • Incline Road from Foresta Bridge to the last BLM campground
  • Old El Portal
  • Old Yosemite Road
  • Ponderosa Basin Community
  • Rancheria Flat – Government Housing
  • Savage’s Trading Post
  • Yosemite View Lodge
  • Yosemite West

*Evacuation orders have been lifted for East Westfall Road area as of 9 a.m. but will be under a Fire Advisement. This area includes all homes on East Westfall from Triangle Road to Chowchilla Mt. Rd including all side roads and chowchilla Mt. Rd. from Hwy 49S to East Westfall.

Road Closures:

Highway 140 closed –

  • From the entrance of Yosemite National Park to 1.5 miles east of Midpines
  • Incline Road, River Road from Briceburg to the gate at Railroad Flat and all campground areas along Highway 140 Foresta Road, Anderson Valley Road, Summit Road, and Old Yosemite Road

Triangle Road from --

  • East Westfall Road to Highway 49 South

Chowchilla Mountain Road at –

  • Highway 49 South
  • Harris Road at Highway 49 South
  • All roads inside the Ponderosa Basin Subdivison

Wawona Road between –

  • Chilnualna Falls Road in Wawona
  • Bridalveil Falls Road in Yosemite Valley


Red Cross Shelter --

  • Mariposa Elementary School, 5044 Jones Street, Mariposa, CA

Animal Shelter --

  • Small animal: Mariposa Elementary School, 5044 Jones Street, Mariposa, CA
  • Large animal: 5007 Fairgrounds Road, Mariposa, CA

Local firefighters deployed to Ferguson Fire

On July 16, Folsom Fire Department sent a crew of firefighters to the Ferguson Fire as part of Strike Team 4804C.

Cosumnes Fire Department, which serves Elk Grove and Galt, deployed their firefighters as part of Strike Team 4152C on July 16 to assist with the Ferguson Fire.

Stockton Fire Department has their first team wrapping up deployment at the Ferguson Fire.They teamed with Woodbridge, Kery County, Bakersfield, and Tulare County Fire Departments.

Fallen Firefighters:

Braden Varney - Cal Fire Heavy Equipment Operator

Captain Brian Hughes - Captain of the Arrowhead Hotshots

As Captain Hughes was escorted to the Coroner's office in Modesto, his crew was treated to breakfast in their time of grief by the fellow firefighters at Modesto Fire Department. The crew had stayed overnight in Modesto after the loss of Captain Hughes.

Also see | How to defend your home from wildfires

One more before you go: Devastating fires aren't just a rural problem anymore. As our climate and communities change, so does when and where wildfires will strike next. ABC10's Monica Woods shows why:

If you're viewing this on the ABC10 App, tap here for the multimedia.