Wildfire near Yosemite triples in size

FRESNO, Calif. — A wildfire outside Yosemite National Park more than tripled in size Thursday, shutting down businesses in surrounding communities and leading scores of tourists to leave the area during peak season.

The fire is one of several blazes burning in or near the nation’s national parks, and one of 50 major uncontained fires burning across the western United States.

Fire officials said the Yosemite blaze, which threatens several thousand homes, hotels, and camp buildings, had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained Thursday, down from 5 percent a day earlier. Two homes and seven outbuildings have been destroyed.


While the park remains open, the blaze has caused the closure of a 4-mile stretch of State Route 120, one of three entrances into Yosemite on the west side, devastating areas that live off of park-fueled tourism.

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Officials have advised voluntary evacuations of the Pine Mountain Lake community, other area residences, several organized camps, and at least two campgrounds. More homes, businesses, and hotels are threatened in nearby Groveland, a community of 600 about five miles from the fire and 25 miles from the entrance of Yosemite.

Though some remain open, many area businesses have closed and people who had vacation rental homes are canceling plans, local business owners said.

Park officials said the fire has not affected Yosemite itself, which can still be accessed via state Routes 140 and 41 from the west, as well as State Route 120 from the east.

associated press