Tag Archives: Yosemite

Yosemite is Closed for its 123rd Birthday, Google Doodle

Yosemite Google DoodlePark forced to close for Government shutdown

by Brian Leubitz

Well, the House GOP has gone ahead and leaped over the brink in their vain attempts to stop the President’s Affordable Care Act and forced a government shutdown. It’s a sad state of affairs, and particularly mournful for our very own Yosemite National Park, forced to close as it gets a closeup from the millions of Google users who view the “Google Doodle”:

So Yosemite National Park is sitting there, all majestic in the outfit it planned just for the occasion – its 123rd Anniversary, today, Oct. 1 – but something isn’t right. There are no party guests, no cake and not a celebratory banner in sight, because the federal government is shut down today.

All that remains are the best wishes from Google, which marks Yosemite’s anniversary today with a Doodle Tribute. Meanwhile tourists will be kept from visiting that and all the national parks around the country today.

Park police will be on duty to make sure no shenanigans go down, but the visitors center will be closed and all campers have been escorted off the grounds. (Consumerist)

There are many other blogs to read for some very good opinions on the shutdown, but for those Californians who wanted to see the majesty of Half-Dome, well, they will have to wait. Apparently the Republicans are too busy being held hostage to their right wing fringe to get real work done.

How Firefighters Used Big Data to Fight the Rim Fire

Firefighters used precision data to protect water sources

by Brian Leubitz

The Rim Fire in and around Yosemite is almost fully contained. (84% to be exact], you can get daily Rim Fire updates at thye Sierra Sun Times.) It has cost nearly $125 million since it began on August 17, burning 3 commercial buildings and 11 residences plus a lot of other outbuildings. But some of the biggest risks it presented was to our water supply. As it was building near several reservoirs, including the grand Hetch Hetchy reservoir that provides water to much of the Bay Area, firefighters couldn’t necessarily just dump fire retardant wherever worked best for fire containment.

To put it simply, they had to be far more precise, both in dumping their payloads and targeting relief assistance. Over at the Verge, they take a look at company called ESRI who helped process mapping and other data to help fight the fires and help those in need. Read the whole story over there to get an idea of how firefighters are using technology these days.

Rim Fire Roars through Yosemite and Beyond

Rim Fire Expands into Yosemite National ParkFire threatens giant sequoia groves

by Brian Leubitz

The Yosemite area Rim fire is huge, and doesn’t show many indications of slowing down anytime soon:

Firefighters on Monday dealt with fierce winds that were pushing the giant Rim Fire north toward the communities of Tuolumne City, Twain Harte and Ponderosa Pines.

Overall, fire crews reported progress slowing the advance of the blaze, which had grown to more 235 square miles on the western edge of Yosemite and was threatening thousands of homes, many in the hills above the Gold Rush-era city of Sonora.

Beyond the concerns that this will scare away tourists (myself included…I was planning a trip soon), the fire is now endangering some of the oldest and largest trees in the world. Two of the three largest Sequoia groves are at risk, and firefighters are working to protect them.

It turns out how we think about fire fighting has changed a lot in the last 30 years. Simply putting out every fire isn’t wise, but we also can’t be setting controlled burns every few years. Nature has evolved with a very delicate balance, and we’ve been failing that for over 100 years in the American West. The combination of our fire management strategies with climate changed has made our forests a disaster waiting to happen.

Best of luck to our firefighters. Stay safe.

Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space center on Flickr. The Rim Fire can be seen as a bright blob directly south of Lake Tahoe. The fire is now bigger than Lake Tahoe.