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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid