Yosemite fire traced back to hot catalytic converter
The wildfire that forced the closing of Yosemite Valley this summer began when a hot part of a vehicle ignited dry vegetation along a key canyon highway route into the national park, officials investigating the Ferguson fire have concluded.
The U.S. Forest Service said superheated pieces of a catalytic converter are believed to have ignited roadside vegetation on state Route 140, along the Merced River. The roadway is one of just a few that bring motorists from the cities of California to Yosemite National Park.
The fire — which grew to nearly 97,000 acres, an area triple the size of San Francisco — was believed to have begun on eastbound state Route 140 between 8 p.m. and 8:25 p.m. July 13.
Flames scorch a hillside in unincorporated Mariposa County, Calif., near Yosemite National Park in July. AROUND THE COUNTRY