Yosemite National Park is open. Visitors should plan for winter driving conditions. Tire chains may be required at any time. Temporary closures may go into effect at any time due to road and weather conditions. For updated road and weather conditions in Yosemite National Park call (209) 372-0200, then press 1 and 1.

Donations of food, clothing, bedding and cash are still being accepted this week to help about 170 Aramark employees in Yosemite Valley who are displaced from their housing units due to storm damage that included falling trees and a power line fire that destroyed belongings of about 10 workers.

It could be six to eight weeks before some displaced employees can return to their units, due to the need to mitigate remaining hazards and repair damaged buildings, Rosemarie Smallcombe, the elected District 1 supervisor for Mariposa County, said Monday in a phone interview.

Smallcombe spoke during a break from a teleconference meeting of a forest management task force in Sacramento. Smallcombe’s district includes Yosemite Valley and other parts of Yosemite National Park. About half her heavily-forested district burned in the devastating Ferguson Fire this past summer, the same blaze that prompted employee evacuations in Yosemite and put many of them out of work for the duration of the two months-long fire. Both firefighters killed in the Ferguson Fire died in Smallcombe’s district.

“Employees in Yosemite, whether they’re concession or park service employees, they’ve taken a lot of hits recently,” Smallcombe said, referring to park shutdowns during the Ferguson Fire, the 35-day partial federal government shutdown that placed many workers on furlough or unpaid time off, and the storms last week that dumped so much snow it brought down hundreds of trees and damaged or destroyed 50 guest cabins at Half Dome Village and 50 to 70 concessioner housing units, according to the Park Service.

“They need support from not only their neighbors here in Yosemite and Mariposa County, but also elsewhere, from folks who care about Yosemite and folks who live there,” Smallcombe said.

“The community of Mariposa is very resilient and we are pulling together.”

Donated items sought for displaced employees include food, clothing, bedding and toiletries, Smallcombe said. Monetary donations are needed as well because some employees’ vehicles have been damaged or destroyed by falling trees, Smallcombe said.

Aramark has about 170 employees displaced from their homes due to downed trees, fire and hazardous conditions, Smallcombe said. About 50 have been relocated in the park, 50 are staying in hotels, 20 have made their own arrangements to stay with friends, and 40 to 50 were outside the park and have been asked to remain outside with family or friends until current hazards are reduced or removed. So far there are about 10 known individuals who have lost everything they own in the past week.

The Park Service continues to work with Aramark on assessing damage to tent cabins and electrical systems, Jamie Richards with Yosemite National Park communications said Monday in a phone interview.

Asked for an update Monday on displaced employees in Yosemite Valley, David Freireich with Aramark Corporate Communications in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, responded, “We reaffirm our top priority is the safety of our employees and we are continuing to do everything possible to aide and assist them. This includes providing them with food, shelter, clothing, and supplies.”

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

22494180