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
Wildfire Smoke Reaches Yosemite Valley
A look at the area of the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park in California.   (Associated Press)

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. (Read more Yosemite National Park stories.)

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