Yosemite wildfire grows substantially

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Yosemite wildfire grows substantially

Meadow Fire in Yosemite National Park, California
The Meadow Fire in Yosemite National Park is a remote, hold-over lightning caused fire which began on September 4 and is located five miles east of Yosemite Valley, CA.

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA - JULY 28: The El Portal Fire at 5% containment burns on the western edge on July 28, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California. More than 500 fire personnel have been battling the fire which has spread across 2,600 acres and threatening nearby homes and roads. (Photo by Don Smith/Getty Images)
GROVELAND, CA - AUGUST 28: Cows graze in a field as the Rim Fire burns in nearby hills on August 28, 2013 near Groveland, California. Over 3,500 firefighters are battling the destructive Rim Fire that has charred 180,000 acres and has entered a section of Yosemite National Park. The fire is currently 23 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA - JULY 28: The El Portal Fire at 5% containment burns on the western edge on July 28, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California. More than 500 fire personnel have been battling the fire which has spread across 2,600 acres and threatening nearby homes and roads. (Photo by Don Smith/Getty Images)
In this photo provided by Yosemite National Park, smoke from a fire rises above Little Yosemite Valley near Yosemite National Park, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. About 100 Yosemite National Park visitors were evacuated by helicopter Sunday when a wildfire that started weeks ago in the park's backcountry grew unexpectedly to at least 700 acres, officials said. (AP Photo/Yosemite National Park)
A chimney stands amid the remains of a burnt structure near Oakhurst, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. A wildfire that forced about 1,000 people from their homes in the foothills near Yosemite National Park held steady Tuesday as humidity and calmer winds aided the fight against the second blaze around the park in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Scott Smith)
A helicopter drops fire retardant as firefighters battle a blaze in El Portal, Calif., near Yosemite National Park on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Firefighters in the state are also battling another wildfire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Al Golub)
This image released by the Madera County Sheriff's Department shows a bear running through smoke in the Sierra foothills in Sierra National Forest, Calif, on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Fire crews gained ground Tuesday on two of the largest wildfires in California, lifting evacuation orders for about half the homes in the path of a blaze in Yosemite National Park and redeploying firefighters battling another fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Madera County Sheriff's Department)
Smoke rises from a blaze in El Portal, Calif., near Yosemite National Park on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Fire crews gained ground Tuesday on two of the largest wildfires in California, lifting evacuation orders for about half the homes in the path of a blaze in Yosemite National Park and redeploying firefighters battling another fire in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Al Golub)
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA - JULY 28: A smokey sky from the El Portal Fire allows for warm-looking skies as the sun lowers in the west on July 28, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California. More than 500 fire personnel have been battling the fire which has spread across 2,600 acres and threatening nearby homes and roads. (Photo by Don Smith/Getty Images)
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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Crews battling a wildfire in the backcountry of Yosemite National Park that forced the helicopter evacuation of 85 park visitors were expecting to get some help from the weather on Monday.

The forecast called for calm winds and relatively high humidity, park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said. The fire had burned through about 4 square miles as of Monday morning, up from about a square mile the previous night. Park officials attributed some of the increase to better mapping.

The fire burning in steep and rugged terrain was not threatening any structures, and the park remained open. It did, however, force the closure of trails near Yosemite's iconic Half Dome peak, where the park allows 300 hikers each day, as well as a nearby campsite.

The visitors who were evacuated on Sunday included hikers who had climbed Half Dome, which rises nearly 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley. Cobb said officials were confident they had pulled out everyone in danger out, but they would continue to look for anyone left behind.

The 4-square-mile blaze may have started as a spot fire sparked by embers from a lightning-caused blaze that started several weeks ago between Little Yosemite Valley and Half Dome, officials said. Firefighters had monitored and controlled that fire before winds and temperatures increased on Sunday.

About 15 miles southwest of the park, meanwhile, firefighters were slowly gaining the upper hand on a wildfire near the town of Mariposa.

The 300-acre blaze was 75 percent contained, and an evacuation order was previously lifted for the 300 homes most threatened by the fire, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. A portion of Highway 49, a main entrance into the park, was briefly closed.

Yosemite Wildfires Spark Evacuations


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