Tourists flee huge fire near Yosemite park in California
FRESNO, Calif. — A wildfire outside Yosemite National Park more than tripled in size on Thursday, shutting down businesses in surrounding communities and leading scores of tourists to leave the area during peak season.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency as a result of the huge fire, one of several burning in or near the nation's national parks and one of 50 major uncontained blazes burning across the West.
Fire officials said the blaze near Yosemite, which threatens several thousand homes, hotels and camp buildings, had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained, 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 park-fueled tourism.
Officials have advised voluntary evacuations of the gated summer community of Pine Mountain Lake, population 2,800, 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.
“Usually during summer, it's swamped with tourists, you can't find parking downtown,” said Christina Wilkinson, who runs Groveland's social media pages and lives in Pine Mountain Lake. “Now the streets are empty. All we see is firefighters, emergency personnel and fire trucks.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kentucky firefighters recovering from ice stunt shocks
- U.S. could have done better, says brother of slain journalist
- Oklahoma City officer accused of sex assaults
- Reid apologizes for jokes at Asian business event
- Charities reconsider fundraising activities
- Mudslides plague Washington state after wildfire strips hillsides
- Rehabilitated snowy owl dies in Minnesota
- Obama pressured to obliterate ISIS as attack risks rise
- Retailers warned about software
- Ferguson residents fear return of rioting, looting
- Scientists hope tiny robotic bee’s big dreams take flight