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Firefighters Continue to Battle California Wildfire

A firefighter is seen in this undated U.S. Forest Service handout photo near Yosemite National Park, California, released to Reuters August 30, 2013.A firefighter is seen in this undated U.S. Forest Service handout photo near Yosemite National Park, California, released to Reuters August 30, 2013.
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A firefighter is seen in this undated U.S. Forest Service handout photo near Yosemite National Park, California, released to Reuters August 30, 2013.
A firefighter is seen in this undated U.S. Forest Service handout photo near Yosemite National Park, California, released to Reuters August 30, 2013.
VOA News
More than 5,000 firefighters are battling a massive wildfire in the western U.S. state of California that is expanding into areas of a famous national park.
 
The U.S. Forest Service says the so-called Rim Fire has engulfed more than 90,000 hectares since it started two weeks ago on the edge of Yosemite National Park. It has destroyed more than 100 homes, businesses and other structures, with about 4,500 other structures still threatened.
 
Firefighters say they have contained 40 percent of the massive blaze. They now estimate it will take until October 20 to fully contain the Rim Fire, a full month longer than expectations voiced just two days ago.
 
The wildfire is still some distance from Yosemite National Park's major attractions, including granite rock formations and waterfalls. 
 
It is the largest fire in the United States this year and the fifth largest California wildfire on record.
 
Mandatory evacuations are in place in at least two areas.
 
Authorities have been using an unmanned military Predator drone, similar to those used in Afghanistan, to provide information on new fires they would otherwise not be able to see. 
 
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.

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