Member-supported news for Southern California
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Support for KPCC comes from:

Rim Fire: Wildfire near Yosemite explodes overnight to 53,866 acres (photos, map)

UPDATE: Rim Fire surpasses 100,000 acres, forces tourists, residents to evacuate (photos)

Update 4:15 p.m. Rim Fire prompts road closures during summer travel season

More than 1,000 firefighters are trying to get a handle on the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park. It has grown to more than 53,000 acres and is only 2 percent contained.

Anyone trying to squeeze in a last-minute vacation should watch out for road closures. There’s one shutdown right now — Highway 120 — which is a major corridor to Yosemite National Park from the north.

Jarrod Lyman, who works with the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, says people traveling to the park from Southern California may not have to worry about it.

“They won’t be impacted by that closure, because they’ll most likely access the park through the Highway 41 entrance, which is the most direct route from that Southern California area," Lyman said. "But it’s always a good idea — check on road conditions, make sure that nothing has changed.”

Lyman says there’s very little smoke in the Yosemite Valley, which is the most popular part of the park. But officials say the fire is burning east, towards the valley.

At this point, officials say they don’t expect the Rim Fire will cause tourists to cancel their plans over the popular Labor Day weekend.

Corey Moore

Previously: A wildfire outside Yosemite National Park has more than tripled in size to 53,866 acres overnight and still threatens about 2,500 homes, hotels and camp buildings.

Fire officials on Thursday said the fire had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained, down from 5 percent Wednesday.

California Gov. Jerry Brown also declared a state of emergency in Tuolumne County for the Rim Fire on Thursday.

The fire has destroyed two homes and seven outbuildings and led to the voluntary evacuation of the gated summer community of Pine Mountain Lake, which has a population of 2,800.

The fire also caused the closure of a 4-mile stretch of State Route 120, one main path into Yosemite on the west side. The park remains open and can be accessed via state Routes 140 and 4.

It was one of more than 50 major blazes burning across the western U.S.

STATS, CLOSURES, EVACUATIONS: Full details on KPCC's Fire Tracker

View Rim Fire in a larger map

This story has been updated.