California Rim Fire grows: Astonishing timelapse videos from Yosemite

The Rim Fire in central California now covers 301 square miles and has moved into 6th place on California’s list of largest wildfires on record (dating back to 1932).

Screenshot from ESRI interactive map of Rim Fire. The red outline portion represents the fire and the green-shaded area is Yosemite National Park. (ESRI).

The blaze, 30 percent contained, is nearly the size of New York City or as large as 145,000 football fields.

“Rapid fire growth and extreme fire behavior continue to hamper suppression efforts,” writes Inciweb.

The fire has further progressed into the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park but, fortunately, most of the Park remains unaffected.

Screenshot from ESRI interactive map which shows daily progression of Rim Fire (ESRI)

The National Park Service (NPS) has posted some absolutely unbelievable timelapse footage of the blaze.

Here’s how NPS describes the footage: Time-lapse photography shows various perspectives of the 2013 Rim Fire, as viewed from Yosemite National Park. The first part of this video is from the Crane Flat Helibase. The fire is currently burning in wilderness and is not immediately threatening visitors or employees. The second half of the video is from Glacier Point, showing Yosemite Valley, and how little the smoke from the fire has impacted the Valley.

The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin posted this additional timelapse video of the blaze, also stitched together from webcam views from the Crane Flat helibase, looking north, on Wednesday.

Referring to similarly dramatic timelapse footage from the Colorado’s West Fork Complex Fires in June, Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait describes the imagery as “stunningly gorgeous and viscerally horrifying” and “menacing yet mesmerizing.”

These same descriptors hold true for the visuals of the Rim Fire. And I should add Phil Plait has a way with words….

Here’s ESRI’s Interactive Map which allows you to explore the fire’s characteristics in greater depth:

Related: California Rim Fire: A blazing tour from Earth and space

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
Show Comments
Most Read Local

Heat Tracker

90-degree days year-to-date
Yearly Average
Record Most
67 (1980,2010)
Record Fewest
7 (1886,1905)
Last Year

At a Glance


-- /90°
Drop 30%


73° /84°


69° /80°


71° /87°


72° /88°


73° /91°
National Airport

Right Now

D.C. Area Almanac

Avg. High
Avg. Low
Rec. High
Rec. Low
Next Story
David Streit · August 29, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.