A team of scientists reviewing the Rim Fire burn area concluded Tuesday that slightly more than half — about 56 percent — of the soil within the fire perimeter was either unburned or burned at low severity, meaning it is at low risk for erosion.
Only about 7 percent was burned at “high severity” — meaning erosion chances are high. This figure is “fairly low” in comparison to other fires and for the time of year, according to a statement from the Burned Area Emergency Response team, which will host a public meeting Thursday in Sonora to discuss findings.
The blaze, entering its second month today, had reached 256,895 acres as of Tuesday evening, with no measurable growth overnight. Containment remains at 84 percent.
The fire remains active in the northeast, and continues to burn slowly within the containment area.
The BAER team has received $362,480 from the U.S. Forest Service to begin work to reduce post-fire hazards. Most will go toward road stabilization.
The team is working to implement these measures before the first major storm of the season arrives.
The fire is expected to be fully contained by Friday, and weather is forecast to assist, with a slight chance of rain forecast from Friday night to Saturday night in the fire area and Mother Lode.
When asked to explain the endgame for the firefight, Incident Management Team spokesman Paul Gibbs said there really isn’t one besides continuing to hold the containment line steady and letting the fire burn itself out.
They are not planning to construct direct or indirect lines behind the fire in the remaining section — in Yosemite National Park between Cherry Lake and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The area is sparsely vegetated and heavy in granite, so the fire is unlikely to spread much.
The containment estimate will increase once the fire stops growing in that area, Gibbs said.
However, management has been evaluating the Sept. 20 containment date daily to ensure it is on track, he said. The date hasn’t changed since it was declared weeks ago.
Management officially shifted this morning from the Type 1 Incident Management Team back to the same Type 2 Incident Management Team that came to relieve the Stanislaus National Forest management within the first week of the fire.