News / USA

Officials: Yosemite Fire, Now California's 3rd Largest, Will Intensify

Fire crew members stand watch near a controlled burn operation as they fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, Sept. 2, 2013.Fire crew members stand watch near a controlled burn operation as they fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, Sept. 2, 2013.
x
Fire crew members stand watch near a controlled burn operation as they fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, Sept. 2, 2013.
Fire crew members stand watch near a controlled burn operation as they fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California, Sept. 2, 2013.
Reuters
A wildfire that has consumed parts of Yosemite National Park and charred an area greater than the city of Dallas, Texas, is expected to intensify on Friday and is now California's third largest wildfire on record, fire managers said.

The 20-day Rim Fire is expected to burn another two weeks, they added.

The blaze has blackened about 246,350 acres (99,694 hectares), or 385 square miles, of timber and chaparral in the rugged northern California forests since it broke out on Aug. 17.

Fanned by wind in hot and dry weather, the fire has grown by almost 10,000 acres since Thursday, although it has stayed mostly within containment lines that firefighters have drawn around 80 percent of the blaze's perimeter.

“Fire activity is expected to intensify Friday as unburned areas within control lines are consumed on the Rim Fire,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the U.S. Forest Service, and other agencies said in a joint statement.

Hot, dry weather and strong winds are expected throughout the weekend, and would challenge further containment line building, they said.

The Rim Fire ranks as the largest of dozens of wildfires that have raged across several states in the drought-parched West this year, straining U.S. firefighting resources.

The fire was started by a hunter's illegal campfire that got out of control in secluded Stanislaus National Forest, officials said on Thursday.

Friday's setback follows efforts by ground crews on Thursday to tame the fire using hand tools and chainsaws, backed by bulldozers, water-dropping helicopters and airplane tankers with payloads of chemical retardant.

A stretch of Highway 120 that leads from Groveland to the west side of the 750,000-acre [300,000-hectare] park was set to reopen Friday at noon.

Yosemite has some 4 million visitors each year, mostly from June through August. About 620,000 normally visit in August alone, but the fire has caused tourism at the park to decline.

Firefighting costs had run $84.8 million as of Friday, with some 5,000 personnel assigned to battle the blaze at its peak, though crew numbers have dropped to roughly 3,600.

Officials said 111 structures, including 11 homes, have been destroyed, and roughly 1,900 structures in the region were still threatened by the blaze on Friday.

But no serious injuries have been reported, and most evacuation orders and advisories have been lifted as firefighters tightened their grip on the flames.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More