A large California wildfire that has blackened a swathe of Yosemite National Park backcountry grew to the fourth-largest in modern state history even as fire crews managed to slow the spread of the flames at the weekend, officials said on Sunday.
The Rim Fire had charred nearly 223 000 acres by Sunday, mostly in the Stanislaus National Forest that spreads out from Yosemite’s western edge. The blaze has blackened about six percent of Yosemite’s wilder backcountry.
It edged past the 1932 Matilija wildfire in Ventura County to become the fourth-largest California wildfire on record, according to figures from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Five of the state’s seven largest fires in recorded history have occurred since 2007, according to those figures.
The fire, whose footprint now exceeds the area of Dallas, sent heavy smoke on Saturday into the Yosemite Valley, an area famed for towering granite rock formations, waterfalls and pine forests. It obscured views of popular landmarks on a holiday weekend at the end of the summer tourist season.
Yosemite fire shrouds valley in smoke