Local News

Tuesday, Aug 20 2013 07:42 PM

Threat grows from fire near Yosemite

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK -- A destructive wildfire on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park on Tuesday threatened more than 2,000 structures, forced the evacuation of camps and remote rural homes, and brought the shutdown of a main highway into the park.

In three days, the fire has destroyed two residences and five outbuildings, but some 2,500 houses, hotels and camp buildings were under threat, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jerry Snyder said.

Most were in Groveland, a community of about 3,500 people which has not been evacuated.

The fire has surged to more than 15 square miles and was burning out of control in remote, steep, difficult-to-reach terrain with no containment lines. About 450 firefighters were working the blaze, along with water-dropping planes.

About 200 senior citizens and a few dozen staffers were forced to evacuate from Camp Mather, which is owned and operated by the city of San Francisco as a public getaway for city families and was hosting a special week for the group, city parks officials said.

Several camps outside Yosemite have evacuated since the fire started Saturday in the Stanislaus National Forest.

The fire has also forced a few dozen people to leave the tiny community of Buck Meadows.

State Route 120 was shut down in both directions for a 4-mile stretch, blocking traffic in and out of Yosemite on its west side, but the park remained open to visitors via State Route 140 and State Route 4.

The cause was under investigation.

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