Firefighters Gain Ground Against Yosemite Rim Fire

Crews fighting the Rim Fire in Yosemite are beginning to make some headway.

On Monday night, firefighters were finally able to drop retardant on the massive fire, which has been burning for 10 days. The ascent of the blaze to higher elevations helped crews, offering more level ground and greater accessibility for air tankers.

"Today we can finally fight the fire on our terms, said Gary Wuchner, Yosemite National Park's fire specialist.

By Tuesday, officials reported that the wildfire was 20 percent contained — more than double the progress that had been reached in previous days. Fears that the flames would disrupt San Francisco's water and power systems had also ebbed. Glen Stratton, an operations section chief on the blaze, said that he had "no concerns" when it came to the fire's impact on the city's utilities.

The fire, which is the largest on record in the area, covers about 252 square miles and has burned more than 160,000 acres, including about 21,000 within the park. It's been 17 years since a fire has threatened the area in the northern portion of Yosemite. Park workers have remained vigilant, soaking sequoia groves and wrapping structures in fireproof materials.

More than 3,000 firefighters are fighting the blaze in California, which has been exacerbated by strong winds, dry conditions, and difficult terrain. Crews have faced challenges at every turn, including 300-foot walls of fire.

Wednesday's weather may cause limited visibility, but firefighters are hoping that the anticipated levels of humidity will have a dampening effect on the ongoing wildfire.

Bloomberg on YouTube