Rim Fire: Crews Gain Some Ground on Massive Blaze Near Yosemite

Categories: Rim Fire

Firefighters claim they're finally getting somewhere with this massive blaze that's burning through one of the most beautiful spots in California.

The Associated Press reported early this morning that, for the first time in over a week, firefighters are feeling a tad optimistic because the Rim Fire is now 20 percent contained. That doesn't sound like much, but it's a huge improvement from Friday, when the fire was only 2 percent controlled.

That's not to say it's time to start taking clean drinking water for granted again.

As readers already know, San Francisco's main water supply has been in danger of being polluted by ash, considering Hetch Hetchy is one of the few large-scale water systems not equipped with a filtration system.

As we reported yesterday, Public Utilities Commission officials have shunted water into supplemental reservoirs before ashes polluted our drinking source. However, in the long-term, as rainfall carries ash and detritus into the watershed, the city could face some drinking-water problems with no clear solution at hand.

But so far, the ash that has hit the reservoir hasn't sunk as far as the intake valves, which are about halfway down the 300-foot O'Shaughnessy Dam. Utility officials told reporters that the ash is not toxic, and if problems are detected, then the city will start filtering water for customers.

Glen Stratton, an operations section chief on the blaze, was a bit more upbeat about the burning chaos around the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, claiming the area "looks great." In fact, he went as far as to say he was "optimistic," despite the fact that weather conditions this week could bring even more challenges that way.

"No concerns," he said.

Surprisingly enough, you can still get some great weekend hiking in at Yosemite, as most of the park remains open to visitors, or in this case, the more adventurous types.

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