The Rim Fire grew further overnight, covering another 30,000 acres since yesterday morning, with a total of 180,000 acres now burning or burned (or 280 square miles). The blaze has now been going for 11 days, and the original source of the fire remains a mystery.

Fears about the disruption of water or power from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir and O'Shaughnessy Dam seem to be waning. Though there is ash on the surface of the reservoir, it has not sunk down to intake valves, and a bunch of water was speedily pumped out of the reservoir and into reservoirs closer to San Francisco. Firefighters are confident they can protect the hydroelectric power lines running from dam, but we'll update you if that changes.

Meanwhile, on another front of the blaze, crews have been bulldozing fire lines to protect Tuolomne City, and a total of 4,500 structures remain under threat.

A grove of giant sequoias are also under threat, at the edge of Yosemite National Park, about ten miles from the fire — but we learned today that sequoias have a chemical in their bark that acts as a natural fire retardant.

Parts of Yosemite have caught fire, however the park remains open and the fire remains about 20 miles west of some of the main attractions in the park.

The Stanislaus National Forest, which previously experienced a major wildfire 26 years ago, in 1987, has been a prime locale for a natural cycle of wildfires historically, but those fires were much smaller and had less fuel. Efforts to suppress fire by humans, as well as a replanting of large groves of the forest after the 1987 fire, have left big dry patches of uniform growth that are perfect fire magnets.

[USA Today]
[LA Times]

All previous coverage of the Rim Fire on SFist.