Massive fire near Yosemite National Park triples in size overnight

August 23, 2013 00:25

SAN FRANCISCO - A wildfire raging out of control near Yosemite National Park in northern California ballooned to nearly 54,000 acres (22,000 hectares) on Thursday, more than tripling in size from the day before, forest officials said.

The blaze, which is burning mostly in Stanislaus National Forest and has destroyed two homes and seven outbuildings since it broke out on Saturday, was only 2 percent contained despite efforts of more than 1,360 firefighters to tame it, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Trevor Augustino.

Augustino said the Rim Fire, named after a popular local lookout point, Rim of the World, is burning on rugged and remote terrain, which has made it challenging for firefighters to haul in hoses to damp the flames.

"The terrain is so difficult that you can't go into direct attack," Augustino said, adding that he expected a lot more firefighters to arrive on Friday as reinforcements.

The Rim Fire is the fourth-largest and fastest growing wildfire in the nation, said National Inter-agency Fire Center spokeswoman Robyn Broyles. It is one of 50 large wildfires burning throughout the US West.

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