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Railroad Fire at 35% containment, evac orders remain in place

Fire officials will hold a public meeting to provide Railroad Fire updates and answer questions, 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Mountain Christian Center (40299 Highway 49) in Oakhurst.

As of Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Railroad Fire showed minimal fire growth overnight and is now at 35% containment, having burned 11,528 acres.

The west side of the fire remains stable with crews patrolling and mopping up, while the east side continues to spread slowly through Big Sandy and Nelder Grove.

Containment increased yesterday as crews worked to extinguish hot spots along the perimeter of the fire on the west and north flanks, holding on the north side at Rainier Creek. The fire remained active until after dark when increased humidity recovery slowed fire spread. Burning operations intended to improve the defense of the communities of Sugar Pine and Cedar Valley continued successfully.

These activities will continue on the west side of Cedar Valley to bring the fire down to Lewis Creek. Bulldozers are creating a fire break on the northeast side of the fire around Big Sandy and above Speckerman Mountain.

Tree mortality continues to increase safety risk for fire personnel and medium range spotting is challenging constructed control lines slowing containment.

The hope is that lower temperatures and higher humidity levels will assist firefighters in slowing fire spread and spotting. However, wet or dry thunderstorms with lightning and strong outflow winds are still a possibility within the fire area today.

Caltrans will continue to clear hazard trees along Highway 4 for the next several days to ensure safety for travelers into Fish Camp and Yosemite National Park. PG&E will be working on electric poles to restore power within the burned area.

Highway 41 remains closed in both directions from south of Wawona to Sky Ranch Road. Yosemite visitors should use Highway 49. The Summerdale, Big Sandy, and Nelder Grove Campgrounds on the Sierra National Forest are closed. Sky Ranch Road is closed, as are roads between Beasore Road and Sky Ranch Road.

Resources include 14 hand crews, 6 helicopters, 89 engines, 14 dozers. Air tankers have been ordered and will support the fire as available.

The Railroad Fire began more than a week ago, on Aug. 29, along Highway 41 between Sugar Pine and Fish Camp.

Current evacuation orders include Tenaya Lodge Resort, Sugar Pine, Calvin Crest, Paradise Springs, Cedar Valley and Sky Ranch. About 47 have utilized the two Red Cross shelters in Oakhurst - one at the Oakhurst Community Center and the other at the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church.

Some residents in Fish Camp were allowed to return to their homes yesterday, but had enter via Wawona. All other evacuations remain in place.

Resources assigned to the fire include 14 hand crews, 7 helicopters, 89 engines, 14 dozers. Air support remains a critical part of the firefighting effort and will support ground crews as conditions allow.

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