High winds and a chance of rain and snow today through Wednesday will keep firefighters extra vigilant in the fight against the Rim Fire.
The National Weather Service has issued a “High Wind Warning” for Yosemite National Park and south along the Sierra Nevada from 2 p.m. today through 11 p.m. Wednesday.
The statement said gusts could reach over 58 mph for areas above 8,000 feet in elevation and that winds of that speed can cause damage.
The uncontained northeastern section of the Rim Fire between Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and Cherry Lake reaches about 8,000 feet.
The Weather Service warned that trees and tree branches can be knocked down and loose objects could become airborne and cause injury or property damage in these winds.
“Winds aid the spread of fire,” said Robin Vora, spokesman for the incident management team, and could bring up smoke.
So crews must be more vigilant, he said.
However, overall, the weather is not being viewed as a huge concern for the next 24 hours for the firefight, he said.
Jim Andersen, Weather Service meteorologist, explained that at 8,000 feet, sustained wind is only expected around 30 to 40 mph, and anything over 58 mph would be a peak and “not a constant event.”
At 4,000 feet, about Hetch Hetchy’s elevation, winds are expected more around 15 to 25 mph with possible peaks around 30 mph, Andersen said.
A 20 percent chance of precipitation is forecast tonight through Wednesday night in the fire area, but meteorologists are “expecting very little precipitation,” Andersen said.
Snow levels may reach down to 6,800 feet, but Andersen said that would just be slurry and that just a dusting of snow may be seen at about 7,000 feet.
Lower elevations like Sonora are not forecast to see rain, but winds could gust as high as 26 mph Wednesday, day and night.
The Rim Fire this morning covered 257,130 acres and was 84 percent contained.