Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Mariposa

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Residents around Mariposa are picking up the pieces left behind in the wake of the Detwiler Fire. For many, that means returning to homes damaged or completely destroyed by the fast moving blaze.

This week Valley Public Radio spoke with a wide range of people who were affected in some way by the fire to find out how they are feeling and what their plans are going forward.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

UPDATE: Evacuation orders remain in place for residents on Greeley Hill Road and Dogtown Road near Coulterville.

Original post:
Residents of Mariposa County are beginning to return home as the Detwiler Fire slowly dies down. Cal Fire is getting control of the blaze but not before it burned more than 76,000 acres.

Monday is the first day some are learning if their homes survived the blaze.

Linda Scoggin’s home is the only one left standing on a remote road in Mt. Bullion north of Mariposa but that doesn’t mean everything survived.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The Detwiler Fire  has now burned over 70,000 acres and is 10 percent contained, but officials say they are making progress in the firefight, and say Mariposa residents may soon be able to return to their homes.

Ken Pimlott is the Director of Cal Fire. He says cooler temperatures have helped the effort. 

“Our goal is to the use the next several days while the weather has somewhat moderated to really try to get containment lines in, but we’re really not out of the woods,” says Pimlott.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

As the Detwiler Fire continues to grow, residents in the surrounding area are growing increasingly nervous. Many residents are already making preparations to evacuate if necessary.

One of those residents is Jack Wass. Wass is a lifelong resident of Bootjack which is just a few miles southeast of Mariposa on the edge of the evacuation zone on Highway 49.

Wass and his friend are trying to jumpstart his truck to make sure it is ready to roll in case they get word they have to leave.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Update 8:00 am Thursday

Overnight infrared imagery of the Detwiler Fire shows the blaze has grown to over 70,000 acres. The fire is now 10 percent contained. In the last 24 hours the southern flank of the fire was active, burning south of Highway 140, in the area between Mariposa and Cathey's Valley. Across the Merced River the northern flank of the fire also advanced and is threatening the community of Coulterville. It has destroyed 45 buildings and damaged six others. 

Update: Wednesday 11:00 pm

Hope Hall - Presidential Videographer / White House YouTube

The year 2016 was supposed to be one of celebration at Yosemite National Park, one of the crown jewels of the now century-old National Park Service. But while President Obama did visit the park to celebrate the NPR Centennial this past summer, a new scandal has rocked the park and those who work there. Allegations of a hostile work environment, gender discrimination and sexual harassment led longtime park superintendent Don Neubacher to unexpectedly resign last week.

Caltrans

A popular route into Yosemite Valley is about to get a makeover. FM89's Joe Moore reports on the effort t fix damage that happened nearly 10 years ago.

In May 2006, a rockslide in the Merced River Canyon severely damaged Highway 140 between Briceburg and El Portal. Caltrans eventually reopened the road later that year with a temporary detour around the unstable mountain of rock, but that temporary detour is now almost a decade old. 

Madera County Sheriff Dept Facebook

Firefighters are battling a wildfire in Mariposa County on Highway 49 today. The Bridge Fire began on Friday afternoon near the William Sell Bridge between Oakhurst and Mariposa and has burned around 100 acres. Mandatory evacuations are in place for residents in the Ponderosa Basin area near the east fork of the Chowchilla River. A number of structures are threatened by the fire. Highway 49 is closed between Worman Road and Chowchilla Mountain Road.

Cal Fire

In the late afternoon on Memorial Day, a wildfire touched off in rural Mariposa County.  Just two days later, the so-called Hunters Fire has engulfed 1300 acres and destroyed two homes.

Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, says fires this time of year aren't unusual--but ones that travel so fast are.

http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3660/

The Rim Fire is now the seventh largest wildfire in California history, growing to nearly 180,000 acres overnight. Over 3,700 firefighters are battling the blaze which is now 20 percent contained. It has destroyed 111 structures, with many more threatened. Late yesterday officials expanded the evacuation area, as the fire continues to spread to the east and southeast. Residents in an area from Mi-Wok to Pinecrest are now being advised to leave their homes.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new study shows that local roads in California are falling into a state of disrepair at an alarming rate. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the report says the majority of counties have roads at risk of failing.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Randy Bolt has a passion for rocks. Well, not just rocks, but gems and minerals too. He's a historic guide at California's Mining and Mineral Museum in Mariposa. 

He can tell you about the state's official gemstone, "which most people have never even heard of, which is actually one of the rarest  gems in the world, it's called Benitoite, named after San Benito Creek."

Or he can tell you about the history of the world-famous nugget from the California Gold Rush that is nearly the size of a basketball.