YOSEMITE, Calif. (KTXL) — The Red Fire was first reported by Yosemite Fire and Aviation Management on Aug. 4 and has grown to over 2,000 acres as of Wednesday. Fire officials have also determined that it was caused by lightning.
The fire has been allowed to grow over time, according to the management group, in order to clear fuel loads in areas that have seen little to no fire activity.
Fuel loads can comprise of fallen trees, dry brush, ground cover and other types of built-up vegetation.
In an August 26 tweet, the management group wrote, “They (Red Fire and Rogers Fire) are clearing the forest of heavy fuel loads brought on by decades of fire suppression, long-term drought and climate change – reducing the risk for catastrophic fires.”
The Red Fire has seen some substantial growth periods during its almost full month of burning.
Between Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, the fire grew from 50 acres to 167 acres. Between Aug. 14 and Aug. 15, it grew from 250 acres to 398 acres. Most recently, between Aug. 27 and Aug. 28, the fire grew from 1,046 acres to 1,834 acres.
Although the fire has been growing, it is not allowed to burn in every direction. Crews have been on scene of the fire since Aug. 14, when the fire reached 250 acres, according to the management group.
On Aug. 17, the Mammoth Module from Inyo National Forest began providing mutual aid and on Aug. 22 a Helitack crew began providing aid to ground units, according to the management group.
The management group said that aid has included resupply, transportation and taking out trash accumulated by ground units.
Ground crews have been containing and controlling the fire by using natural barriers such as granite walls
Reports of fire intensity by the management group have mostly been low to moderate, which they saw will help in providing new plant growth, healthier soil and increased water availability.
The fire has had some negative impacts on park visitors, as smoke from the Red Fire has settled in the famous Yosemite Valley.
“Smoke from the Red Fire will continue to settle into the Yosemite Valley overnight causing Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy Air Quality Index,” the management group shared over social media on Wednesday.