News Column

Yosemite Fire Rages Out of Control

August 23, 2013

A wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park in California quadrupled in size in 24 hours, despite 1,800 firefighters and aircraft deployed to battle it.

The state's governor declared a state of emergency as the US Forest Service reported more than 25,600 hectares had burned as of late Thursday, an area four times bigger than the night before.

Only 1 per cent of the blaze had been contained, the Forest Service said.

The fire had damaged homes, threatened another 2,500 residences and led to evacuations, Governor Jerry Brown said. No casualties had been reported.

The Forest Service described the growth potential of the wildfire as extreme and said the difficulty of the terrain was making firefighting difficult. Aircraft were deployed to help battle the blaze.

Small communities and camping sites were threatened with being engulfed. An access road to Yosemite was closed, but the park had largely escaped the flames.

The preceding winter brought little precipitation, and the dry conditions have fed an abnormally large number of wildfires in the US West this summer.

The state of emergency allows money and workers to be mobilized to fight the blaze in Tuolumne county.

It broke out Saturday and grew as it was fed by the dry underbrush of the Sierra Nevada mountains. The cause was unknown and under investigation, the Forest Service said.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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