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Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:27:00 +0000
(EL PORTAL, Calif.) -- Firefighters in northern California are battling large wildfires, attempting to extinguish a blaze near Yosemite National Park that quadrupled in size over the weekend.
The fire entered park grounds on Monday, according to park spokesperson Scott Gediman, though it represents a small percentage of the fire and flames don't yet pose a threat to any of the major tourist areas.
At least 100 homes and two campgrounds were evacuated over the weekend, and more than 700 firefighters are working to suppress the flames. Crews face difficult challenges in rough terrain, steep cliff sides, and extreme heat.
2014 marks the driest year on record for Yosemite, following three back-to-back years of extreme drought. The conditions bring up to triple-digit temperatures with the wildfire, and experts forecast similar conditions throughout the week.
Officials are also implementing helicopter water drops to pinpoint locations in steep terrain.
The fire began in the community of El Portal around 3 p.m. Saturday, according to park representatives. As of 9:45 p.m. Sunday, the fire had burned 2,100 acres. Since July 14, Yosemite Park has experienced more than 3,000 lightning strikes and at least 21 fire starts.
Still, the park remains open, including Yosemite Valley and Half Dome. While tourists are frequenting the area, they face possible road closures that could lead to delays.
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