BBC, AFP, CBS
GROVELAND — Firefighters are still struggling to contain the intense wildfire raging north of Yosemite National Park in California. Some 2,800 firefighters are battling the so-called Rim Fire, which covers 133,980 acres.
Yosemite Park spokesman Tom Medena told CBS News that the fire is edging closer to the source of San Francisco’s famously pure drinking water, known as the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Californian Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the city, as the reservoir supplies the city with 85% of its water.
InciWeb (Incident Information System, which monitors fires in the western U.S.) reported that the fire was just seven percent contained. “It remained fairly active overnight in most all divisions,” the website added, and it showed “rapid rates of spread, torching and spotting” on its eastern edge.
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Photo: Elias Funez - Modesto Bee/ZUMA
It “is expected to continue to exhibit very large fire growth due to extremely dry fuels and inaccessible terrain,” according to InciWeb.
The BBC reports that the flames remain 20 miles away from Yosemite’s main tourist area. The park authorities thus have no plans to close as most of it is unaffected by the fire, though areas on the park’s northwestern edge have been closed throughout the week.
Investigators are trying to determine how the fire started Aug. 17 at Stanislaus National Forest, which, along with Yosemite, is the state’s primary natural tourist attraction. The Rim Fire is the most critical of a dozen burning across California.