California Fire Damaging Air in Nevada

And it has a clear path deeper into Yosemite
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2013 7:49 AM CDT
California Fire Damaging Air in Nevada
Firefighter Brandon Wenger stands along Highway 120 while monitoring a backburn during the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., Aug. 27, 2013.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The wildfire threatening Yosemite National Park is throwing so much smoke into the air that it is significantly hurting the air quality in Nevada—more than 100 miles away. Reno and Carson City issued emergency warnings over the smoke from the Rim Fire, and school children were kept inside for the second time in a week to avoid it, the AP reports. The air quality index even briefly passed the rare "hazardous" level. "It's five hours away," says one shocked resident. "I can't run. I can't breathe. It makes me sneeze."

The fire is about 20% contained, but almost all of that progress has come at its southwest edge, the LA Times reports. On the east, it has a relatively flat, direct path deeper into Yosemite. "There's not a lot of real good areas to get out in there and do a lot of work," says one US Forest Service official. Meanwhile, state officials are urging residents to be wary of social media, where false rumors are spreading like, well, wildfire. Recently, for instance, "news" spread that the Groveland firehouse had burned down, which "would be a surprise to the firefighters sleeping there," a local sergeant tells the Modesto Bee. (Read more Yosemite National Park stories.)

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