Rim Wildfire in Yosemite is One of the Largest In California History
Wildfires are raging near Yosemite National Park have grown into one of the biggest blazes the state has seen.
The Rim Fire, which started on August 17, has plowed through more than 200 square miles of forest and is less than 10 percent contained according to officials. An inaccessible location, extremely dry conditions and strong winds have created a nightmare scenario, feeding the fire for more than a week and limiting visibility to 100 feet. "This fire has continued to pose every challenge that there can be on a fire," Daniel Berlant, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Of the 12 fires currently blazing in the state, this one is the worst, requiring more than 12 helicopters and 2,000 firefighters on the ground to try to put it out.
California wildfires are raging out of control thanks to the lack of rain and snowfall this year that have left mountainous terrain arid, creating the perfect setting for fast moving, hard to handle infernos.
Crews are currently attempting quell the flames in Yosemite's remote wilderness area. And the fire is creeping closer to Hetchy Hetch Reservoir, which provides water to San Francisco. Though the city's water source remains in tact, the fire has damaged the hydroelectric power system, leaving San Francisco to shell out $600,000 to keep the power going.
So far, the fire has destroyed 23 structures and threatens about 4,500 more. Plans to make some headway on the blaze on Monday were quickly shut down as strong winds pushed flames towards Tuolumne City.
Employees at Yosemite National Park are attempting to be proactive when it comes to protecting two rare sequoia groves, cutting brush and turning on sprinklers to combat fire-friendly conditions.