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Big Gains On California Wildfire

U.S. firefighters have made gains in battling a massive wildfire in California that is threatening a famous national park.

The U.S. Forest Service said Tuesday firefighters have contained 75 percent of the so-called Rim Fire, up from less than 50 percent contained 36 hours earlier. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity have helped the nearly 4,400 firefighters battling the blaze on the edge of Yosemite National Park.

The so-called Rim Fire has engulfed more than 95,000 hectares and covers 953 square kilometers. It has destroyed more than 100 structures since it started about two weeks ago.

The massive blaze is still some distance from Yosemite National Park's major attractions, including granite rock formations and waterfalls. But the wildfire has affected tourism at the park.

The fire is the largest in the United States this year and the fourth largest California wildfire on record.

The cause of the fire that broke out August 17 is under investigation. It is one of dozens of large wildfires burning in the western United States, which has been plagued by a lack of snow and rainfall this year.

In New Mexico, search and rescue teams are still looking for a missing firefighter who failed to return to a meeting point with other squad members while checking a wildfire on Friday. Officials say about 250 people are helping with Tuesday's search.

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