Yosemite fire threatens power lines to San Francisco
Yosemite fire: The fire covers almost 200 square miles and is only five percent contained. About 17 square miles of the wildfire are now within the Yosemite National Park, but the park remains open to visitors.
(Page 2 of 2)
It continued to grow in several directions, although "most of the fire activity is pushing to the east right into Yosemite," said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In Nevada, the smoke forced officials in several counties to cancel outdoor school activities and issue health advisories, especially for people with respiratory problems.
The fire was threatening about 5,500 residences, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The blaze has destroyed four homes and 12 outbuildings in several different areas.
It closed a 4-mile stretch of State Route 120, one of three entrances into Yosemite on the west side. Two other western routes and an eastern route were open.
Officials issued voluntary evacuation advisories for two new towns — Tuolumne City, population 1,800, and Ponderosa Hills, a community of several hundred — which are about five miles from the fire line, Forest Service spokesman Jerry Snyder said.
A mandatory evacuation order remained in effect for part of Pine Mountain Lake, a summer gated community a few miles from the fire.
"It feels a little bit like a war zone, with helicopters flying overhead, bombers dropping retardant and 10 engine companies stationed on our street," said Ken Codeglia, a retired Pine Mountain Lake resident who decided to stay to protect his house with his own hoses and fire retardant system. "But if the fire gets very hot and firefighters evacuate, I will run with them."
Officials previously advised voluntary evacuations of more than a thousand other homes, several organized camps and at least two campgrounds in the area outside the park's boundary.
More homes, businesses and hotels are threatened in nearby Groveland, a community of 600 about 5 miles from the fire and 25 miles from the entrance of Yosemite.
Usually filled with tourists, the streets are now swarming with firefighters, evacuees and news crews, said Doug Edwards, owner of Hotel Charlotte on Main Street.
"We usually book out six months solid with no vacancies and turn away 30-40 people a night. That's all changed," Edwards said. "All we're getting for the next three weeks is cancellations. It's a huge impact on the community in terms of revenue dollars."
The fire is raging in the same region where a 1987 blaze killed a firefighter, burned hundreds of thousands of acres and forced several thousand people out of their homes.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.