Donnell Fire, August 5, 2018, Noon-ish - Update: 4:58 p.m.

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Update at 11:40am: Thanks to better mapping today, the Stanislaus National Forest is now estimating that the Donnell Fire is 5,814 acres. It grew around 5,000 acres yesterday. Strong winds in the afternoon pushed the fire into the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. It is burning in steep and rugged terrain. The fire has expanded into the area that burned during the 2017 McCormick Fire, slowing its growth on the northeast flank. Crews continue to prep for structure protection along the Highway 108 corridor between Clark Fork and Kennedy Meadows. Last night crews cleared vegetation around the Double Dome   repeater and will continue to monitor that area today.

Campers evacuating near Kennedy Meadows

This morning the Central Coast Interagency Management Team took over operations of the fire from the Stanislaus National Forest. A mandatory evacuation order is in place from Eagle Meadow Road to Kennedy Meadows. Only drivers leaving the evacuated area are allowed to travel on an eight mile stretch of Highway 108 near the fire area.

Update at 9:10am: The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office reports that the Highway 108 corridor, from the Clark Fork campgrounds through Kennedy Meadows resort, is now under a mandatory evacuation order. Highway 108 near the fire is only open for those evacuating from the area. The latest size estimate of the Donnell Fire is 1,750 acres. The evacuation center remains open at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Sonora.

Original story posted at 6:30 am: Tuolumne County, CA — The Stanislaus National Forest reports the Donnell Fire off Highway 108 near Donnell Vista is 1,750 acres and there is no containment.

The growth was relatively slow early yesterday until the inversion layer lifted at 11am. Spokesperson Diana Fredlund reports that 200 people were evacuated as the fire is threatening a combined 225 structures and outbuildings.  A mandatory evacuation order remains in place for the area stretching from the Clark Fork campground to the Dardanelles resort. An advisory evacuation notice is in place from Dardanelles to Kennedy Meadows. 65 cabins and five large campgrounds in the Brightman area were evacuated, while 88 cabins, two resorts, and several large campgrounds are under the advisory.  Yesterday the fire crossed the Stanislaus River and it has been burning to the northeast. Crews are trying to keep it north of the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River, south of Spicer, west of Bald Peak and east of Dome Rock. The fire has been burning through roughly two feet high brush, timber litter and understory, according to the forest service.

There is a hard closure of Highway 108 at Eagle Meadow. 207 firefighters are assigned to the incident, 16 engines, three helicopters, four hand crews, two dozers and two water tenders. High temperatures are again projected over the coming days and a Red Flag Warning is in place for high winds.

An evacuation center remains open at the 7th Day Adventist Church in Sonora. Click here to view a story from yesterday detailing the fire’s activity.

The fire ignited at around 5:45pm on August 1st and the cause is under investigation.

And now you know why Defensible Space Inspectors go house to house checking to see that your roofs are free of flammable dry pine needles, your trees are limbed up and your ground is as cleared as possible of pine needles/leaves/flammable materials.  Vacant lots as well—-when compliance can be obtained from the property owner.

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