Visitors are fleeing Yosemite as fire threatens the national park. The wildfire now covers more than 100 square miles of land. California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency.
More than 1,800 firefighters and nine helicopters are battling the blaze. Officials state that the fire is only 1 percent contained.
As reported by NBC News, the Rim Fire is within 10 miles of the Yosemite National Park. The park remains open. However, many tourists have voluntarily left the area.
Firefighters are having problems reaching the fire through the dense and steep terrain. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Trevor Augustino explains that “the terrain is so difficult that you can’t go into a direct attack.”
The firefighters are working hard to spare Yosemite from the fire. However, the threat to several neighborhoods is the biggest concern.
National Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Robyn Broyles states that the Rim Fire is the fastest spreading fire in the western US.
As the flames continue to spread, 2,500 households were advised to evacuate. Two evacuation centers are open to area residents.
The evacuations are not mandatory. However, authorities have urged residents to be cautious.
The blaze remains outside the boundaries of Yosemite. However, the fire has led to closures and cancellations within the park.
As a precaution, one campground and numerous roads have been closed. The park’s State Route 120 entrance is included in the closures.
The Rim Fire is not only dangerous, it is also causing a noticeable decline in tourism. Many businesses rely on Yosemite National Park’s busy fall season. Unfortunately, the fire has kept many tourists away.
As reported by Fox News, many businesses have closed as their customers and employees have fled. Corinna Loh, who owns Iron Door Saloon and Grill is devastated:
“This fire, it’s killing our financial picture… This is our high season and it has gone to nothing, we’re really hurting.”
Firefighters are working nonstop to spare residents of Tuolumne County and Yosemite from the raging fire.
[Image via Wikimedia]