The Yosemite Rim fire that's already destroyed 111 buildings, including 31 homes, is spreading deeper into Yosemite National Park on its 12th day of chaos Wednesday.
Containment of the fire has reached 23 percent, up from 20 percent on Tuesday. There are 3,700 firefighters with nearly 500 fire engines combatting the fire who say they are realizing they don't many options left to control it.
The fire has burned through 187,466 acres and is on its way to becoming the sixth-largest fire in the state's history. Officials report that 4,500 homes north of the fire, two groves of giant sequoias, and other historic landmarks are in danger. Authorities have issued evacuations for residents living near the fire's path.
Daniel Berlant, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman stated the fire was "burning its way into the record books."
Firefighters have been working day and night to contain the fire. The firefighters are living in a command post that's big enough to feed and house all of the firefighters during this tragedy.
Currently, 4,100 firefighters are planning to conduct extensive backfires, "a dangerous tactic in which firefighters burn vegetation inside a fire line to help contain a rapidly spreading blaze."
The smoke of the fire is also spreading beyond California. "The Rim fire continued to spew out huge clouds of smoke that prompted hazardous-air alerts more than 100 miles away in Carson City," Nevada officials said.
Maggie Dowd, district ranger in the Groveland Ranger District, says she fears for the fire's economic implications. "The economic impacts are real, but we haven't begun to estimate them yet," Dowd said Tuesday. According to Dowd, the fire destroyed an area that had a pending $1-million timber sale.
Most of Yosemite National Park, like the famed Yosemite Valley, is still open to tourists and is thankfully in good shape. Officials stated,"Most of Yosemite National Park is not affected by the fire and is relatively smoke-free."
The cause of the fire has not been reported and still under investigation.