Yosemite Fire Threatens Bay Area's Power and Water Supplies
Having burned 144,000 acres since it started more than a week ago near Yosemite National Park, the Rim Fire quickly became one of California's largest wildfires on record over the weekend. And while crews have reported making progress in battling the blaze, the fire was still only 7 percent contained as of Sunday and continued to threaten a major source of San Francisco’s water and power supplies.
"Fire crews continued to battle the blaze on the ground and from the air Sunday, and strong winds from the south were expected to push the fire to the north and east - driving it farther into the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park and in the direction of the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the main source of drinking water for 2.6 million people in the Bay Area," reports John Coté.
"So far, there have been no interruptions to the water supply, and testing has shown no change in drinking water quality since the fire began, said Tyrone Jue, a spokesman for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission."
"The same could not be said for the city's hydropower generation," notes Coté. "Two of three power production plants downriver from the reservoir had to shut down before the fire swept through, prompting the city to rely on reciprocal agreements with other utilities and to spend about $600,000 buying supplemental power to make up the shortfall, Jue said."