Quantcast

US crews battle huge wildfire in Yosemite area



Firefighter A.J. Tevis watches the flames of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, California, on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. With winds gusting to 50 mph on Sierra mountain ridges and flames jumping from treetop to treetop, hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to protect this and other communities in the path of the Rim Fire raging north of Yosemite National Park. AP PHOTO/JAE C. HONG

TUOLUMNE CITY, California—A huge wildfire near Yosemite National Park in California continued to threaten San Francisco’s water supply Monday, while officials warned that the blaze was so hot that it could send sparks into new, untouched areas.

Officials reported some progress. Stanislaus National Forest spokesman Jerry Snyder said containment of the fire was at 15 percent Monday morning, up from 7 percent the previous night. He said crews were helped by cooler temperatures caused at least in part by the shadow cast by the large plume of smoke.

The fire continued to grow, however, and was 234 square miles (606 sq. kilometers) in size—covering more ground than the city of Chicago.

The fire, burning near one of the country’s most popular national parks, edged within a mile (1.6 kilometer) of the source of San Francisco’s drinking water and to some of the giant sequoia trees that are among the largest and oldest living things on earth. They can resist fire but were being sprinkled for protection.

The fire is now one of the biggest in California history, helped by inaccessible terrain, strong winds and bone-dry conditions. Strong winds threatened to push the blaze closer to nearby communities. About 4,500 structures remained under threat. At least 23 structures have been destroyed, though officials have not determined whether they were homes or rural outbuildings.

“This fire has continued to pose every challenge that there can be on a fire,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The threat to San Francisco’s utilities prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for the city. Water authorities were scrambling to fill area reservoirs with water before ash from the wildfire taints supplies.

Ash was falling on the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir but so far hadn’t sunk far enough into the lake to reach intake pumps.

General Manager Harlan Kelly Jr. of the city’s Public Utilities Commission said the city has a six-month supply on hand. If ash eventually causes turbidity, the city will begin filtering supplies. He was unsure of the cost.—Brian Skoloff


Follow Us


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: US , Wildfires , Yoshemite




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement
Marketplace
Advertisement