Telegraph Fire August 1 Morning Summary

According to the most recent ICS-209 the Telegraph Fire has burned 34,000 acres and is 60% contained. Fifty more firefighters joined the fight bringing the total to 4,531.

More than half are Cal Fire personnel.

Equipment rundown:
106 Fire Engines -52 Dozers -55 Water Tenders -61 Hand Crews (including 8 camp crews) –16 Helicopters -12 Fixed Wing Aircraft

A mere 10% or 414 of the total is supervisory or “overhead”. This is a very low ratio of “Chiefs to Indians”. Most of the fires I have followed this season reported overhead numbers between 25 and 35 percent.

Suppression costs have reached $24,000,000.

Twenty-two firefighters have been injured fighting the Telegraph Incident.

Active fire behavior is primarily in the northern and eastern flanks of the fire. Hwy 140 to Yosemite National Park continues to be restricted; CHP will be escorting traffic when air operations are not working in the area. Fire suppression repair has begun. Good progress was made yesterday due to the 24 hour suppression efforts. The majority of residents were allowed to re-enter today, with the exception of Sherlock Rd. and parts of the community of Midpines. Hwy 140 will have various restrictions East of Mariposa.

The community of Midpines has a minimal threat. The Greely Hill, El Portal, and Yosemite National Park may be threatened. The fire will continue to cause partial or complete restrictions of Hwy 140 leading to the main entrance to Yosemite National Park. An evacuation center has been established at the Mariposa Elementary School. Kassabaum Spike Camp is fully operational. The incident will continue damage inspection over the next several days. The incident is now operating in an Area Command (Hodson), with north and south operational areas. ICT 6 will command the north area and ICT 8 will command the south area. The Merced River will be the operational area break. Fire suppression repair has begun. Containment on the southern portion and continued containment progress on the northern portion of the fire was directly related to the resource availability. Out of state Type 6 Engines are en route to the incident. This could potentially free up some Type III Engines.

On the 48 hour timetable the following information is offered:

There is a reduced fire threat to Mariposa, Bear Valley and Midpines area. The fire threatens the wild and scenic Merced River, which is habitat for the threatened and endangered Limestone Salamander. The Merced group of Giant Sequoia Redwoods will be threatened. Road restrictions on Hwy 140 East of Mariposa may affect access to Yosemite National Park. There is 73 million dollars of timber value at risk in the Stanislaus National Forest.”

I thought this number stood out considering the costs to date to suppress the fire is nearly 1/3 the value of the timber resource referenced.

The most important value at risk was Mariposa, Bear Valley, Midpines and the homes and ranches in Mariposa County. The fact only 22 homes burned is phenomenal all considered.

Credit expert wildland firefighting.


  • Anonymous says:

    Mike, thanks so much for your updates. We live in the Bay Area but have owned property or vacationed in the Groveland/Pine Mountain Lake/Yosemite area for 20 years.Nowhere else did I find timely reports on what was going on and where it was happening. Calfire’s site was just too slow to update and, I admit, boring compared to yours!Regards,Barbara

  • Mike says:

    Thank you for the comments Kady and Barbara.—CrewsA crew supervisor lines out the crew members by how their tools contribute to building hand lines. There is no set standard. I uesd to like a pulaski in front followed closely by a chain saw and his swamper. Following are shovels, more pulaski’s, maddocks. New guys are in the back. The last guy in line is sometimes called a “drag-spoon”.Single file 10′ apart is standard. This is for order and the fact crews follow very thin trails or no trails at all.

  • Anonymous says:

    Mike,Here’s a video of slides, made by the administrator over on – - procedure question:Why do crews go single file? There are pics of crews going out and coming back from assignment. All are in single file; there must be a reason. Is this a safety procedure?Thanks for your input!

  • Anonymous says:

    Captain Mike,Living in Fresno I have been concerned about learning information about this fire. We have family living in Mariposa. Although Calfire also has twice daily updates I have really appreciated the candidness of yours. Thank you for all your work and taking the time to keep us all informed.Sincerely, Barbara Fiske

  • kady says:

    Thanks for the timely updates and great information. I finally left my home for an outing to Fresno, feeling relatively safe. Why does this past week feel like a month?!

  • Mike says:

    Lynn and Team–Thank you for the kind words. Reviewing the visitor logs I saw traffic from your website. I tracked back and took a look at your site and hotel.Your site is a great community resource. I’ve been all over California but never Groveland. After looking over your hotel that will have to change!Thanks again,Mike

  • HotelCharlotte says:

    Your blog has been well passed around the surrounding communities and even larger www for incoming visitors. We appreciate the regularity of the updates and the passion that you have for firefighting. Thanks for taking the time to write regularly.Lynn & Team at the Charlotte Hotel, Groveland.