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Forest fires growing blazes near both Yosemite and Sequoia national parks

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Hot and dry weather on Tuesday hindered efforts to slow the growth of a forest fire near Yosemite National Park. The fire has burned more than 19 square miles. Officials issued a hazardous air alert due to the smoke. (July 18) AP

The Horse Creek Fire in Sequoia National Park is growing, spreading Sunday to more than 30 acres in a high-terrain area dense with dead trees.

The fire is visible for several miles on the south side of the Mineral King Road and Slapjack Creek, National Park officials said.

Since the fire is burning in a steep, dense part of the forest, firefighters are mostly using helicopters and air tankers to battle the lightning-caused blaze.

The NPS is asking the public to avoid using Mineral King Road. Traffic conditions have been exacerbated by visitor interest in seeing and taking photos of the fire from the road.

[post_ads]However, at this time neither the road nor any structures are directly threatened by the fire, and the road remains open, the NPS said. Both Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks remain open.

The Atwell-Hockett Trail and the Tar Gap Trail are closed due to the fire, though.

 "We all should be planning for worst-case scenarios in our homes and communities,” says Horse Creek Fire Incident Commander Kelly Singer. “Make sure that you know what you and your family are going to do in an emergency.”

Near Yosemite National Park, the Ferguson Fire was steadily growing over the weekend and two more firefighters were injured while battling the flames in blazing summer heat to protect mountain communities.

The fire grew to 30,493 acres by Sunday morning, and moved within about two miles of the northwestern portion of the national park, fire officials said.

Yosemite remains open, but one of its scenic routes, Glacier Point Road, was closed to stage firefighters.

Flames have charred about 42 square miles (110 square kilometers) of timber.

Two firefighters, who were hospitalized Friday after suffering back injuries, have since been released and were expected to fully recover, said fire spokesman Rich Eagan.

A total of four firefighters have been injured since the blaze broke out July 13. A bulldozer operator was killed the day after the fire started while trying to stop its spread.

More than 2,800 firefighters aided by a fleet of aircraft were battling the fire, but only 7 percent of its perimeter was contained.
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Several areas were under mandatory evacuation orders. Residents of other communities were advised to be ready to leave if necessary, but no homes had been damaged or destroyed.

Wildfires burned or smoldered elsewhere in the state, including east of Los Angeles near the Riverside County city of Corona. Most evacuations ordered at the height of the fire Thursday afternoon were lifted that night, but firefighters had extensive work to do to complete a containment line around the 250-acre (101-hectare) burn scar.

In Santa Barbara County, fire crews were able get a handle on a fast-moving brush fire that broke out Friday in Buellton. It was more than 30 percent contained.

The National Weather Service warned that an extended period of high heat was brewing for a large swath of the state.

Excessive-heat watches and warnings were to go into effect early next week across Southern California and throughout the Central Valley as high pressure strengthened over the Southwest states, the weather service said.

A memorial service for Braden Varney, who was killed while operating the bulldozer for Cal Fire, will be held Monday in Modesto.

Courtesy: USA TODAY

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Forest fires growing blazes near both Yosemite and Sequoia national parks
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