The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Nearly four thousand firefighters battled a fierce blaze on the edge of world famous Yosemite National Park on Tuesday amid fears it could contaminate San Francisco’s drinking water supply.

“I see another intense fire day,” said Lee Bentley of the U.S. Forest Service, as crews raced to douse the dangerous flames.

The so-called Rim Fire, the 13th largest in state history, has shut the road into one of the country’s top tourist destinations.

Ten days after it broke out it is only 20 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The powerful blaze had charred 179,481 acres, spokesman Daniel Berlant added in a Twitter update Tuesday.

He said more than 3,700 firefighters were battling the blaze, which began 10 days ago. What sparked it remains unclear.

Although ash from the inferno has reached the reservoir that supplies San Francisco’s drinking water, crews said they were confident public health can be protected, local news reports said.

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is the main source of fresh water for 2.6 million people living in the San Francisco Bay Area, located some 200 miles to the west.

“Water quality is not currently impacted by the Rim Fire,” the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said in the latest update on its website.

The statement added: “We are monitoring water quality every minute of each day to ensure its quality and safety.”

The fire is also threatening the iconic giant sequoia trees in Yosemite.

“They are definitely in danger, but we’re doing everything we can,” Bentley told CNN when asked about the trees.

“We’ve got a pretty good chance of keeping it away, but it’s going to take a heck of a lot of work and a lot of air power,” Bentley said.

Schools in several nearby areas were expected to stay closed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the park said on its website that “most of Yosemite National Park is not affected by the fire and is relatively smoke-free. The northern part of the park… has some smoke. Conditions may change if winds shift.”

Highway 120, one of the main routes into Yosemite from the west, was closed due to the fire.

Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for San Francisco due to the threat to its water and even power supplies.

Two hydroelectric power plants have not been in use since August 19 due to the fire, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said on its website.

The state’s firefighting efforts got a boost when California received federal assistance over the weekend to help mobilize the necessary resources.

President Barack Obama spoke to California’s governor on Sunday and “expressed his gratitude for the brave men and women working tirelessly to combat this devastating fire.”

“The President reiterated his commitment to providing needed federal resources to support the ongoing state and local response,” the White House added, in an account of the call.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

From left Reps. Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Louis Gohmert

Screenshot from The Hill video

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and three other “Sedition Caucus” Republicans held a press conference Tuesday allegedly to decry the conditions at the D.C. jail, which is housing accused suspects awaiting trial for actions during the January 6 Capitol riot. But Greene and her three co-members used the event primarily to further false far-right claims about the insurrection, while wrongly claiming they are being “persecuted” by the government – a talking point Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly used.

Keep reading... Show less

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir.

{{ }}