Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Cécile Duflot ruffles some feathers

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Gunmen kill scores in Iraqi Sunni mosque attack

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Americas

California wildfire spreads to Yosemite Park

© AFP

Video by Nicholas RUSHWORTH , Stephen Carroll

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-08-24

A massive wildfire raged out of control in California on Friday, spreading into Yosemite National Park and prompting state Governor Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in San Francisco as the blaze threatened the city’s power lines.

A giant wildfire raging out of control grew to nearly 200 square miles (518 sq. kilometers) and spread into Yosemite National Park on Friday, as California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the city of San Francisco 150 miles (240 kilometers) away because of the threat to the city’s utilities.

The fire hit the park at the height of summer season, as officials geared up for a busy holiday weekend. It has closed some backcountry hiking but was not threatening the Yosemite Valley region, one of California’s most popular tourist destinations that features such iconic sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Bridalveil and Yosemite falls.

The blaze did, however, pose a threat to the lines and stations that pipe power to the city of San Francisco, so Brown, who had declared an emergency for the fire area earlier in the week, made the unusual move of extending the emergency declaration to the city across the state.

San Francisco gets 85 percent of its water from the Yosemite-area Hetch Hetchy reservoir that is about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from the fire, though that had yet to be affected. But it was forced to shut down two of its three hydroelectric power stations in the area.

The city has so far been able to buy power on the open market and use existing supplies, but further disruptions or damage could have an effect, according to city power officials and the governor’s statement.

The declaration frees funding and resources to help the city and makes it eligible for more federal funds to help with power shortages and outages or water problems.

The weeklong blaze on the timbered slopes of the Western Sierra Nevada has spread to 196 square miles (500 sq. kilometers) and was only 5 percent contained. It continued to grow in several directions, although “most of the fire activity is pushing to the east right into Yosemite,” said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Smoke blowing across the Sierra into the state of Nevada forced officials in several counties to cancel outdoor school activities and issue health advisories, especially for people with respiratory problems.

Authorities urged more evacuations in nearby communities where thousands have already been forced out by flames.

The fire was threatening about 5,500 residences, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The blaze has destroyed four homes and 12 outbuildings in several different areas. More than 2,000 firefighters were on the lines and one sustained a heat-related injury.

While the park remained open, the blaze closed a 4-mile (6.4-kilometer) stretch of State Route 120, one of three entrances into Yosemite on the west side. Two other western routes and an eastern route were open.

Within the park, the blaze was burning on about 17 square miles (44 sq. kilometers) in a remote area around Lake Eleanor, Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb said.

Backcountry permits are required to hike in that area, Cobb said. The park was no longer issuing those and had contacted every person who had received a permit to go there. Two roads into that area were closed and occupants of a campground near the Route 120 west entrance were relocated.

The fire was more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) from Yosemite Valley and skies there were “crystal clear,” Cobb said.

On Friday, officials issued voluntary evacuation advisories for two new towns – Tuolumne City, population 1,800, and Ponderosa Hills, a community of several hundred – which are about five miles from the fire line, Forest Service spokesman Jerry Snyder said.

A mandatory evacuation order remained in effect for part of Pine Mountain Lake, a summer gated community a few miles from the fire.

“It feels a little bit like a war zone, with helicopters flying overhead, bombers dropping retardant and 10 engine companies stationed on our street,” said Ken Codeglia, a retired Pine Mountain Lake resident who decided to stay to protect his house with his own hoses and fire retardant system. “But if the fire gets very hot and firefighters evacuate, I will run with them.”

(AP)

Date created : 2013-08-24

  • USA

    California wildfires threaten 4,000 as flames spread

    Read more

COMMENT(S)