Jul 25, 2022
Bay Area firefighters join thousands battling Oak Fire near Yosemite Transcript
With the Oak Fire spreading quickly and another fire burning not too far away, a lot of Bay Area crews have been sent to the front line. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
Get straight to the Oak Fire burning tonight in Mariposa county. The latest numbers from Cal Fire put it at more than 15,000 acres. It has not been at all contained. It’s at 0% containment. And it’s one of the biggest fires we’ve seen so far this year. It started just a few days ago. State of emergency remains in effect for that area.
Speaker 2: (00:20)
The fire sparked Friday near the town of Midpines, and that is not far from Yosemite in Mariposa county. Evacuation orders remain in effect for the thousands of people that live in this rural part of the state. And the fire continues to threaten thousands of buildings as well.
Speaker 1: (00:37)
And with the fire spreading so quickly, and another fire burning not too far away, a lot of the Bay Area crews have been called out to help in the battle against that fire. KPIX 5’s Betty Yu spoke with some of those local crews.
Speaker 3: (00:50)
The Oak Fire is California’s largest wildfire this year, and Mariposa county is now under a state of emergency.
Speaker 4: (00:57)
Typical summer conditions compiled with years of drought, tree kill, through prolonged drought. There’s a lot of dead timber and vegetation in that area that just aggravates the situation.
Speaker 3: (01:14)
Alameda County Fire said it sent 22 people from various agencies, including Fremont Fire and Oakland Fire early Saturday to help crews battle the flames. Sonoma County Fire also deployed its strike team.
Speaker 4: (01:28)
Long, hard days of work piled on top of already demanding schedules within their own jurisdictions. A lot of people working a lot of extra days, and then they’re being asked to respond and perform. There’s a shortage of resources because, of course, this time of the year there’s a high demand.
Speaker 3: (01:49)
The wildfire, which started Friday, has destroyed at least 10 structures and threatens more than 2,600 buildings.
Speaker 5: (01:57)
This is first time ever in my life being evacuated, so this is kind of different. A lot of anxiety.
Speaker 3: (02:03)
Tonight, Cal Fire held a town hall to assure residents they will do everything in their power to keep them safe.
Speaker 6: (02:10)
So I want to just reiterate one thing that is very important to all of us. We are here for you guys. Okay? So take it that way.
Speaker 3: (02:19)
Meanwhile, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued an air quality advisory as smoke is forecast to drift to our region on Monday. Betty Yu, KPIX 5.
Speaker 1: (02:31)
As Betty mentioned, smoke from that fire has caused the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to issue an advisory starting tomorrow. And as we take a live lookout over the Bay Area tonight, officials say that it will be noticeably hazy and maybe smokey skies beginning tomorrow morning, especially at higher elevations.
Speaker 2: (02:50)
All right, let’s go straight to the one who knows about our air quality. That’s Darren Peck. And I guess we should be kind of bracing for tomorrow.
Speaker 7: (02:56)
Yeah. I’m going to show you an example of what happened in Tahoe today because they’re in the direct line of sight for where that smoke’s going. Their sunrise, that’s all smoke. Looks pretty weird, but these are images we got used to seeing on almost a regular basis up there over the last few years. And the air quality, as you’d probably expect at Tahoe… In fact, we can switch over to the weather computer, and instead of looking at the morning, these are the right now readings, and look how all that red is just kind of congregated right down in the basin, which really does act like a bowl and it traps the bad air quality.
Speaker 7: (03:27)
We’re not going to get that bad, but if we take a look at that plume of smoke coming off of the Oak Fire down here, the deeper the shade of red and purple, the higher the concentration of smoke. We’ve been getting off easy so far. It’s been going directly north. Here’s how things change over the next 24 hours. The flow in the atmosphere by tomorrow starts to bring that smoke our way, and you’ll see why Tuesday morning is probably the timeframe when we start to notice this more.
Speaker 7: (03:51)
Now, most of this is going to be elevated and we should not have a significant inundation of smoke down here at the ground. In fact, if we look at this a different way, instead of looking at all of the smoke in the atmosphere, let’s look at what matters most, not just the stuff you can see, but the stuff that could potentially get into your lungs, because it’s down here at the ground level. And that is a much better story, for us anyway. That smoke should stay confined mainly to the Sierra in terms of the elevation, but they don’t issue air quality advisories lightly. We’ve got one for early this week and it’s something we’re going to watch real closely. They’ll have much more updates-