Visitors were arriving and amenities were open, but the growing flames shut down a key route into the California park.
California.- A deadly wildfire near Yosemite National Park has doubled in size and shrouded the popular destination in smoke, but tourists could still use all trails, campgrounds, lodges and restaurants Monday, officials said.
Visitors were arriving and amenities were open, but the growing flames shut down a key route into the California park at the peak of tourist season. A stretch of State Route 140 has been closed since the weekend, and motorists have been urged to find alternate routes. “All the campgrounds and the hotels are open — the shuttles are running,” Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said. “We have limited visibility, but aside from that, the park is open and fully operational.”
The Yosemite Conservancy, a group that supports the park, posted time-lapse video showing smoke billowing through the park, then enveloping and completely obscuring Half Dome, an iconic rock formation. Park webcams showed other landmarks, such the El Capitan rock formation, concealed by thick plumes of smoke. The blaze scorching dry brush along steep, remote hillsides grew overnight to 14 square miles (36 kilometers) and was largely burning out of control, U.S.
Forest Service spokesman John DeYoe said. Inaccessible terrain and temperatures spiking to 95 degrees (35 Celsius) made it difficult for crews to slow the blaze that started Friday. More fire engines were expected to arrive later Monday to try to stop the flames from reaching more than 100 homes and commercial buildings that are under threat, DeYoe said. Evacuations were ordered over the weekend for the Yosemite Cedar Lodge, which is outside the park, and in nearby communities as flames crept up slopes and the air became thick with smoke.
Danette Moreno, 64, said she, her husband and their dog left their home in Mariposa Pines shortly after midnight Sunday and went to a shelter. The couple retired to their home about five years ago from the Los Angeles area and said they had seen three fires in that time, but this was the first time they had to evacuate.