ESTADOS UNIDOS.- A wildfire that killed a California firefighter grew quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park as crews contended with sweltering conditions Sunday, authorities said.
The so-called Ferguson Fire that broke out Friday scorched nearly 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) of dry brush along steep, remote hillsides on the park’s western edge. It was burning largely out of control, and officials shut off electricity to many areas, including Yosemite Valley, as a safety precaution.
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Guests were ordered to leave Yosemite Cedar Lodge on Saturday as flames crept up slopes and the air became thick with smoke.
“You can’t see anything, it’s so smoky outside. It’s crazy,” said front desk clerk Spencer Arebalo, one of a handful of employees who stayed behind at the popular hotel inside the park.
He said it was surreal to see the property empty at the height of tourist season.
“We’re counting on being closed at least one more day,” Arebalo said.
Evacuations also were ordered in rural communities just outside the park, and people in nearby lodges and motels were told to be ready to leave if flames approach. A stretch of State Route 140 into Yosemite was closed, and motorists were urged to find alternate routes.