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Pilot killed in crash while fighting Dog Rock Fire

A Cal Fire tanker plane crashed into a cliff Tuesday afternoon while fighting wildfire inside Yosemite National Park. Ken Yager / Courtesy photo
Federal investigators today were to begin investigating the crash of a Cal Fire tanker plane that slammed into a cliff Tuesday afternoon while fighting a wildfire inside Yosemite National Park.

Tuesday night, rescue workers reached the plane, an S-2T flown out of Cal Fire’s Hollister Air Attack Base, and confirmed the pilot’s death.

Highway 140 fire burns 150 acres; forces evacuations

Firefighters in Yosemite National Park this morning continued to battle a wildfire burning near the park’s west entrance, forcing evacuations in the community of Foresta and the closure of Highway 140 within the park.

The fire as of this morning had consumed 150 acres and was uncontained. It was unclear how many people were fighting the fire this morning.

Plane crashes in new Yosemite fire

A new fire in Yosemite National Park has prompted evacuation of a town, closed a highway, took down power and led to the crash of a Cal Fire air tanker that responded.

Firefighters battling blaze in Yosemite

Firefighters in Yosemite National Park are battling yet another fire burning in the Foresta area, a small community where residents of about 60 homes have been evacuated.

The Dog Rock fire, as of 6 p.m., has burned 130 acres. The fire was reported about 3 p.m. It was completely uncontained and the cause was unknown, said park spokeswoman Ashley Mayer.

The fire is burning in an area known as Dog Rock, located along El Portal Road, between the Yosmite View Lodge and the Arch Rock park entrance station.

It's heading toward an area that burned in July's El Portal Fire.

In addition to the evacuations, El Portal Road, Highway 140, is closed from Yosemite View Lodge to the junctiojn with Big Oak Flat Road.
In related news, Cal Fire officials lost contact with a tanker this afternoon, according to The Sacramento Bee. 

Assessor race tops election donations

Money is continuing to trickle in for Tuolumne County candidates running in the Nov. 4 election.

Both candidates in the Tuolumne County assessor-recorder’s race and three of the 11 candidates vying for a seat on the Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors had filed campaign finance reports with the county Elections Office by about 12:30 p.m. on Monday. All of the candidates were required to file such reports disclosing any campaign donations, loans or spending by 5 p.m. that day.

Calaveras candidates disclose finances

Several candidates seeking various elected offices in Calaveras County have updated their campaign finance paperwork.

Monday was the deadline for the first of two pre-election filing deadlines. For most candidates, the period covered July 1 through Sept. 30. 

Sonora parking rules to get further review

The Sonora City Council is sending four proposed parking and traffic ordinances back to the drawing board after hearing from residents at a meeting Monday night.

Most of the residents who spoke at the meeting were concerned about specific provisions in the proposed ordinances that would make it illegal to do major repairs or routine maintenance work on vehicles parked on city streets or parking lots, set time limits on how long freight vehicles could be parked near an intersection for loading and unloading, and prohibit any vehicle from parking on any city street or parking lot for longer than 72 hours.

Yosemite park visitors in awe of Meadow Fire destruction

The Meadow Fire burned more than 4,700 acres in Yosemite National Park Guy McCarthy / Union Democrat, Copyright 2014.
Glowing embers and drifting smoke were evident this weekend at the Meadow Fire burn behind Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, and visitors who walked to Clouds Rest had a bird’s-eye view of the blackened wilderness.

The lightning-caused Meadow Fire was reported July 19. It smoldered for weeks, until strong winds blew it out of control the weekend of Sept. 6.

Rim Fire trial moving forward

The Columbia man accused of starting last year’s Rim Fire is scheduled to appear in federal court next week.

Defense attorneys for Keith Emerald and prosecutors will hold a status conference to update the judge on the case’s progress Oct. 14 at the U.S. District Court in Fresno.

Law limits school discipline measures

A new law will deny school districts the ability to expel any students in grades K-12 for disrupting class or defying school authority. 

Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 420 into law in late September. In addition to limiting the range of offenses for which a student may be expelled, the law also denies the ability to suspend students in grades K-3 for defiance. 

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