Friday, August 30, 2013

Some evacuations lifted as firefighters in California battle Rim Fire near Yosemite

Ed Payne at CNN: It was a rare bright spot on an otherwise hazy, smoke-filled horizon. As firefighters worked to get a grip on one of the largest wildfires in California's history, an evacuation advisory was lifted Thursday for residents in Tuolumne City, a picturesque community threatened by the blaze.

In a further sign of progress, authorities also withdrew similar advisories for two other northern California communities close to the flames, Soulsbyville and Willow Springs. 

Known as the Rim Fire, the conflagration has charred nearly 200,000 acres, cost the state more than $39 million to date and is threatening 5,500 structures, of which 4,500 are residences. It's the fifth-largest wildfire in California history. On Thursday, it was in its 12th day and it had only been contained 32%, according to Cal Fire. That's a slight improvement from the 30% containment the day before.

Because of the approaching flames, officials have shut down electricity generators, and San Francisco -- more than 120 miles to the west -- is temporarily getting power from elsewhere.

While the Yosemite Conservancy says the Rim Fire has consumed tens of thousands of acres inside Yosemite National Park, it has so far had little or no direct impact on Yosemite Valley, a popular spot for tourists and home to many of the park's iconic attractions, including the El Capitan rock formation. Firefighters hope to keep it that way. Nearly 5,000 people have been assigned to tackling the blaze...

The Rim Fire on August 17, 2013, shot by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

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