Wildfire Smoke Reaches Yosemite Valley

Popular tourist area affected for first time

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 31, 2013 12:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – Smoke from a wildfire in and around Yosemite National Park is hampering both suppression efforts and the views sought by holiday weekend tourists. Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said smoke from the 2-week-old blaze obscured Yosemite Valley for the first time today. The valley is home to the park's most popular landmarks. Weather forecasts indicate the dense blanket could stick around until Monday.

What's more, US Forest Service spokesman Mark Healey says firefighting aircraft remained grounded this morning because of low visibility caused by the smoke. As of today, the entire wildfire has burned 343 square miles, up from 333 square miles a day earlier. Containment is estimated at about 35%. Officials were newly concerned about a 150-acre spot fire that crossed a road and prompted an evacuation order for homes near the west entrance of Yosemite.

A look at the area of the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park in California.
A look at the area of the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park in California.   (Associated Press)
Cattle stand in a field as a smoke from the Rim Fire rises near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Aug. 28.
Cattle stand in a field as a smoke from the Rim Fire rises near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Aug. 28.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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