Wildfire Near Yosemite Triples In Size

The Rim Fire burning near Yosemite National Park tripled in size in 24 hours to 94 square miles — or about twice the size of San Francisco.

The massive growth of the fire worries officials as the containment dropped from five percent to two percent. The cost to date to fight the blaze is $2.8 million.

The Rim Fire also prompted California Governor Jerry Brown to issue an emergency proclamation for Tuolumne County, reports NBC News.

The city of San Francisco also declared a State of Emergency from the fire as city officials announced it was damaging power and communications assets owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).

The Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is located in Yosemite National Park and provides water to 2.6 million people and businesses in the Bay Area. It also provides the city with hydro electric power.

Along with threatening San Francisco utilities, the wildfire near Yosemite also caused hundreds of residents and visitors to evacuate, notes The San Francisco Chronicle. Firefighters focused on containment and on protecting the small communities of Groveland an Pine Mountain Lake.

The fire’s new grim acreage makes it one of the biggest wildfires in the nation. It is one of 50 major uncontained wildfires burning in the United States. A growing team of 1,800 firefighters struggled on Thursday to fight the inferno, which is raging out of control on dried-out hills. They have been hampered by winds and largely inaccessible terrain.

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The massive wildfire started on Saturday in a remote area of the Stanislaus National Forest. Its cause is so car unknown. The blaze threatens about 2,500 structures including homes and businesses. It has also destroyed nine structures so far.

CBS News notes that evacuation orders near Pine Mountain Lake are not mandatory right now. However, that could change as the fire continues to grow. Deputies went door-to-door on Thursday to urge people to leave. Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Scott Johnson commented that the fire, smoke, and potential for power outages poses a high risk to those who stay.

There is no timetable for containment for the Rim Fire burning near Yosemite.

[Image via ShutterStock]