Fire­fight­ers slow Cal­i­for­nia blaze

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

LOS AN­GE­LES — Crews con­tend­ing with triple-digit tem­per­a­tures slowed the spread of an ag­gres­sive wild­fire that de­stroyed dozens of homes in a ru­ral area of Cal­i­for­nia near Yosemite Na­tional Park, of­fi­cials said Sun­day.

As of Sun­day, the weekold blaze had scorched about 118 square miles of dense brush and dead trees in the Sierra Ne­vada foothills. Many evac­u­ated res­i­dents were al­lowed to re­turn, but flames con­tin­ued to threaten about 1,500 homes in Mari­posa County.

The fire was 40 per­cent con­tained, but of­fi­cials said it could take crews an­other two weeks to fully sur­round it.

Nearly 4,500 fire­fight­ers have fought the blaze us­ing air tankers and fleets of heli­copters and bull­doz­ers.

The fire grew by as much as 47 square miles a day at its peak. By the week­end, the growth rate had slowed de­spite hot, dry weather, fire spokesman Bran­don Vac­caro said.

Smoke blurred the scenic vis­tas of Yosemite Na­tional Park, about 35 miles east of the fire. Some roads re­mained closed.

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