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USMysterious underground fire has been burning near Yosemite for 5 years

03:05  11 september  2019
03:05  11 september  2019 Source:   sfgate.com

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Mysterious underground fire has been burning near Yosemite for 5 years
Mysterious underground fire has been burning near Yosemite for 5 years
Mysterious underground fire has been burning near Yosemite for 5 years

For at least five years, a fire has been burning underground in the Stanislaus Forest west of Yosemite, and foresters say they have no idea what started it or exactly how big it is.

The blaze is smoldering near Rosasco Meadow, roughly seven miles west of Yosemite National Park and 12 miles southwest of the town of Twain Harte. It lies under terrain scorched by the massive Rim Fire in 2013.

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Groveland District Ranger Jim Junette, who oversees the Stanislaus Forest's southern area, told the Modesto Bee last week that that rangers are baffled by fire, which has consumed tree roots in a circular area with a 400-foot diameter. Junette said they aren't sure how deep the fire goes or what is fueling it because it's too dangerous to get a close look.

In 2015, the Union Democrat reported that the "Rosasco Fire," described by the Forest Service as a "holdover heat signature from the Rim Fire," was burning over 3.4 acres. The article did not mention it being underground.

Junette said wildfires sometimes flare up after a year, but never this long. He ruled out lightning as a possible ignition cause after checking weather records.

An old logging railroad grade winds by to the east of Rosasco Meadow. Junette told the Bee that it's possible that the remains of creosote-treated ties could be a fuel source for the fire.

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Subterranean fires have been known to burn for decades, but most are in coal-mining areas. For example, the Centralia mine fire has been smoldering for more than 50 years under the now abandoned town of Centralia in Pennsylvania's anthracite region.

Since the Rosasco Meadow fire has flared up at least twice since 2014, igniting dead vegetation and tree falls, U.S. Forest Service crews are performing controlled burns in the area to reduce woody fuels and lessen the chance of an out-of-control fire. The burns are reportedly expected to continue through Thursday.

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Mike Moffitt is an SFGATE Digital Reporter. Email: moffitt@sfgate.com. Twitter: @Mike_at_SFGate.

Read More

Man Shot by Police After Allegedly Starting Fire, Shooting at Officers in Covina .
A man suspected of starting a fire and shooting at officers in Covina was hospitalized in serious condition Friday morning after being shot multiple times by police. The incident began about 9:40 p.m. Thursday when Covina police were called to a brush fire burning in a vacant lot, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Charles Calderaro said. Officers arriving at the scene located a man in his early 40s, who appeared to be armed with a shotgun, near the fire, Calderaro said.The officers attempted to set up a containment to keep the man, who was believed to have started the fire, from leaving the area.

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