YOSEMITE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Washburn Fire burning in Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest is at 4,375 acres and 27%.
As crews continue to make progress on the fire, the business near the south entrance continues to be hit hard. Fish Camp General Store’s sign reads open, but hardly any customers walk through the door.
“Normally we would have a line of people waiting for sandwiches, we would be busy but it’s been a ghost town ever since they shut down the road, it’s definitely making an impact,” said employee Nick Eubben.
Since the closure of the nearby Highway 41 south gate into the park, staff members say the century-old store loses 100 customers per day. With inflation at an all-time high, the store is not making ends meet.
“We are not making enough money to keep the lights on at this point,” said Eubben.
“We are just here trying to do the best we can in case people can’t make it to Fresno or Oakhurst,” said employee Brandi DeBord.
The Washburn Fire has steadily grown over the last week, sending a plume of smoke above the mountainside. Crews are successful so far in protecting the 500 giant sequoias and the Wawona community – but the fire has spread into the Sierra National Forest.
“The firefighters are working long hard shifts,” said Yosemite Fire’s Mark Ruggiero.
Feeling helpless during the 2020 Creek Fire, Fresno State Professor Keith Putrika decided to become a volunteer firefighter in Shaver Lake and started studying wildfires. He said the dry fuels and steep terrain make for the perfect storm.
“There are a lot of dead trees, there is a lot of fuel and with these especially dry conditions from the drought it is just a recipe for catostrophic fires, which we have seen quite a few of,” said Putrika.