YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fire crews in Yosemite National Park continued to battle the Washburn Fire as it entered its sixth day.
On Tuesday, crews focused on using new tools to attack the fire in ways they hadn’t before.
“This is a full suppression fire and we have to keep that in mind, we have multiple agencies so we are attacking this fire and going after it as hard as we can,” explained Robbie Johnson with Yosemite Fire.
Johnson said a golf course that is usually busy with players teeing up is now home to a 10,000-gallon portable water tank, called a heliwell.
He explained that it gets filled with recycled groundwater and then crews use it to dump water from above.
“The location is strategic so we can have the water as close as possible to the fire,” said Johnson. “We will have a faster turnaround time to getting to the fire and that is always an advantage our ground crews working so hard so the more resources we can get to them will definitely make an improvement in our response.”
Crews also continue to keep a line of sprinklers around the sequoias to try to build a layer of humidity around the trees.
Cicely Muldoon, the park’s superintendent, confirmed no storms with lightning took place on Thursday when the fire started.
Muldoon explained the fire was human-caused but the exact cause is still under investigation.
Despite the fire growing to over 3,500 acres, Johnson reported that every sequoia in the grove is still standing.
“They’ve really gone a long way to prepare for these types of fire events, with prescribed fire, in the past and that’s really gone a long way in protecting our sequoia trees here,” said Johnson.
Those who were evacuated on Friday still haven’t been able to return home.
In total, around 1,600 people were evacuated from Wawona, including many tourists at the hotel and campground.
As of Tuesday evening, the fire has grown to 3,516 acres and containment has dropped from 22% to 17%.