Yosemite Fire Will Burn for 18 More Days
It's now the 4th-largest fire in California history
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 2, 2013 5:54 AM CDT
In this Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 photo, a fire crew stands watch along a fire break near a burn operation on the southern flank of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California.   (AP Photo/US Forest Service, Mike McMillan)
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(Newser) – California's Rim Fire is now 45% contained, but it's still getting bigger—so big, in fact, that it's now the fourth-largest the state has ever seen, the AP reports. It now covers 351 square miles; that's more ground than San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose combined, a fire protection official said. (The biggest was 427 square miles, about 10 years ago in San Diego County.) Reuters likened it to the size of Dallas, and noted that it has eaten its way through 6% of Yosemite's "wilder backcountry." Full containment is not expected until Sept. 20.

Fortunately, "we're going in the right direction" in terms of battling the flames, he noted. Some 4,600 firefighters are involved as damper air slows the blaze. Smoke is letting up in Yosemite, which is still seeing tourists. "The park was actually busier than I thought it would be," says a rep. (Meanwhile, a fire chief says the blaze could have originated on an illegal pot farm.)