An out-of-control wildfire blazed near Yosemite Park on Friday (Aug. 23) as nearly 2,000 fire personnel worked to contain the Northern California blaze, the latest in a number of major wildfires to sweep the country in recent weeks.
NBC News reported that the Rim Fire had burned over 63,366 acres by 8 p.m. local time on Thursday, destroying nine structures and causing one injury as it burned in Stanislaus National Forest, according to an incident report. With more than 1,800 responders battling the blaze, the fire stood one percent contained.
The fire grew on Thursday, licking the western boundaries of Yosemite National Park and sweeping away gains firefighters had made to bring the fire to five percent containment on Wednesday.
California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Tuolumne County on Thursday, as costs fighting the fire hit $5.4 million. The rugged terrain consumed by the fire made it difficult for firefighters to drag in their gear, a Forest Service spokesman said.
“The terrain is so difficult that you can’t go into direct attack,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Trevor Augustino said, according to Reuters.
Crews facing the sprawling flames faced smoke exposure and the potential for injury as the fire skipped across the steep territory, according to an incident report.
A destructive wildfire on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park on Tuesday (Aug. 20) threatened more than 2,000 structures, forced the evacuation of iconic Camp Mather and other campgrounds and remote rural homes and brought the shutdown of a main highway into the park.
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.
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.
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.