Huge California wildfire spreads into Yosemite

FRESNO, Calif. — A giant wildfire raging out of control spread into Yosemite National Park on Friday as authorities urged more evacuations in nearby communities where thousands have been forced out by flames marching through the timbered slopes of the western Sierra Nevada.

The fire hit the park at the height of summer season, as officials geared up for a busy Labor Day weekend. It has closed some backcountry hiking but was not threatening the Yosemite Valley region, one of California's most popular tourist destinations.

The weeklong blaze has spread to more than 165 square miles and was only 2 percent contained. "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.

The fire was threatening about 4,500 residences, according to the U.S. Forest Service. It has destroyed four homes and 12 other buildings.

Five wildfires also were burning in Yellowstone National Park but not nearly as vigorously because portions of the park in northwest Wyoming got half an inch or more of rain Wednesday.

Huge California wildfire spreads into Yosemite 08/24/13 [Last modified: Saturday, August 24, 2013 12:24am]

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