Historic California resort burns in raging Donnell fire north of Yosemite


The Dardanelle Resort near Sonora Pass was devoured overnight by the Donnell fire cutting through the dry vegetation of the Stanislaus National Forest north of Yosemite.

The owners of this historic resort, inaugurated in 1923, posted a message on Facebook claiming the property had suffered “massive structural damage”.

“We are heartbroken and we are struggling with this news. The outpouring of love and support from the community has been incredible,” said one. a message posted Monday morning read. “Prayer to local cabin owners and Camp Jack Hazard.”

The rustic complex is located opposite the Stanislaus River and consists of a motel, restaurant, cabins and camper pitches. The new owners have made many improvements to Dardanelle over the past year, and many mourned his loss in the Facebook post which included a Photo taken by Modesto Bee photographer Marty Bicek of the flames raging behind the motel.

“This photo hurts my stomach because that orange glow is exactly where our cabin is,” explained Wren Helbock. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry for everyone.”

“I’m so sorry and sad. This year our ‘Robertson reunion’ was amazing thanks to you guys,” shared Laina Vann. “I know your family had big dreams and was already doing a great job restoring the Dardanelles. You are young and you will persevere! My heart is broken. Much love for you and yours.”

“Dardanelles is part of my family – I’ve been going since I was 3 or 4 (maybe longer). One very sad morning – sorry for your (our) loss,” added Dan Macon.

READ MORE: Eerie sunrise signals return of wildfire smoke to Bay Area

The extreme behavior of the fires on Sunday night led to the Donnell blaze blowing up Route 108 at Brightman Flat and forcing fire crews to pull out of the intense edge of the blaze. The fire consumed many structures in the Dardanelle and Brightman Flat area, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office reports.

The Donnell fire went through over 12,000 acres since he started August 1 on the east shore of Donnell Lake. The fire was contained at 1% on Monday. The US Forest Service closed a section of the Pacific Crest Trail from Route 108 to Route 4 on Monday due to proximity to the Donnell.

Highway 108 at Eagle Meadow Road to Kennedy Meadows (all residences and campgrounds) and Eagle Meadow Road (5NO1) are all subject to mandatory evacuation.

The fire mainly burns along the north bank of the Stanislaus River Intermediate Fork on steep, inaccessible terrain with large dead and dead wood, Forest Service reports.

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