Pastel-colored smoke from the Rim Fire at sunset, 8/26/13, Yosemite NP, CA, USA
I’ve been spending every spare moment photographing the Rim Fire, but I’ve finally had a chance to process some images. I made this photograph Monday evening, as smoke spilled over from the Tuolumne watershed into the Merced watershed near Yosemite Creek, creating a layered view of pastel-colored trees.
The Rim Fire has become the largest fire in the recorded history of the Sierra Nevada, though undoubtedly much larger fires regularly swept through these mountains before Europeans arrived here. At 192,737 acres, the Rim Fire is also the sixth largest in California history, and seems almost certain to pass the Witch Fire (197,990 acres) for fifth place.
The fire’s growth has slowed considerably. Estimated containment for the Rim Fire is 30%, which represents a lot of progress for firefighters within the last few days.
Highway 120 west of Yosemite remains closed indefinitely. Within the park, Highway 120 is temporarily closed from the park’s western boundary to Yosemite Creek. This means that you can’t drive from Yosemite Valley over Tioga Pass to Lee Vining and Mono Lake (or vice versa). You can reach Tuolumne Meadows, Tenaya Lake, etc., by taking another route to Lee Vining, and driving into the park over Tioga Pass, but you’ll have to turn around at Yosemite Creek and leave the park via the same route.