Fire crews reached full containment late Saturday night, though Sierra National Forest officials said Sunday that smoke will linger and “continue to produce unhealthy conditions” in the area as interior parts of the forest continue to burn and smolder “for some time.” The fire’s cause remains under investigation.
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The Ferguson Fire, which sparked July 13 in steep, rugged terrain and immediately gained strength while burning through beetle-killed trees, scorched nearly 97,000 acres and destroyed 10 structures. A pair of firefighters, Braden Varney, a heavy fire equipment operator, and Brian Hughes, a captain of an elite team called the Arrowhead Hotshots, were both killed during an intense fight against the flames that required some 3,000 firefighters from across the world.
Nineteen injuries were also reported.
The nearby Yosemite Valley, a tourism mecca in the western Sierra Mountains, was closed to visitors from July 25-Aug. 14, a serious blow to local merchants in towns such as Mariposa, Wawona, El Portal, Groveland and Oakhurst who rely on seasonal revenues.