News / USA

Big Gains On California Wildfire

  • A Hotshot fire crew member rests near a controlled burn operation at Horseshoe Meadows, as crews continue to fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, Sept. 4, 2013. (U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan)
  • Crews clear California Highway 120 of debris, as crews continue to fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, Sept. 4, 2013. (U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan)
  • A member of the Monterey Hotshots carries a gas can near a burn operation on the southern flank of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, August 30, 2013. (U.S. Forest Service)
  • A member of the BLM Silver State Hotshot crew using a drip torch to set back fires on the southern flank of the Rim Fire in California, August 30, 2013. (U.S. Forest Service)
  • A member of the Bureau of Land Management Silver State Hotshot crew from Elko, Nevada, walks through a burn operation on the southern flank of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, August 30, 2013. (U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan)
  • Firefighter Russell Mitchell monitors a back burn during the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, California, August 27, 2013.
  • A videographer records the Rim Fire burning through trees near Yosemite National Park, California, August 27, 2013.
  • A firefighter stands on top of a fire truck at a campground destroyed by the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, California, August 26, 2013.
  • A fire truck drives past burning trees as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, California, August 26, 2013.
  • This photo released by NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg shows a view of the California wildfires from the International Space Station, August 26, 2013.
  • A helicopter reloads fire retardant as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire in Tuolumne City, California, August 26, 2013.
  • Los Angeles County firefighters walk past two Bombardier CL-415 Super Scooper firefighting planes parked at Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles, California, August 26, 2013.
  • Firefighter A.J. Tevis watches the flames of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, California, August 25, 2013.
VOA News
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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