The Rim Fire in and around Yosemite National Park continues to smolder and flare up as firefighters work to increase containment beyond 80 percent. Officials say that could take another two weeks.
The worst of the Rim Fire may be over, but the blaze that has raged in and around Yosemite National Park for the past three weeks is likely to burn for another two weeks before officials can declare it to be fully contained.
The wildfire, reported to have been started by a hunter’s illegal campfire, has grown to cover more than a quarter million acres.
Still, steady progress has been made, and containment is now at 80 percent, although the potential for the fire to continue growing remains “high,” according to the US Forest Service. Winds, temperature, and humidity levels affecting fire behavior remain variable, and some of the terrain where firefighters are working is extremely difficult to navigate.
“Short runs of fire may occur where flames reach the bottom of drainages and move into more heavily vegetated areas,” reports the Forest Service. “Approximately 2,490 structures remain threatened in areas near the fire perimeter to the north, south, and southeast portions of the fire.”
Although that portion of California State Road 120 leading into Yosemite Valley has been opened, other parts of the road remain closed, and motorists are asked to use caution and avoid stopping when driving through the fire area. Several campgrounds remain closed as well.
In addition to vacationers and local residents, the Rim Fire could affect a part of the traditional western economy: cattle ranching.