USA – Yosemite National Parks southern entrance remained closed Thursday because of a fast-moving wildfire that burned seven structures and prompted authorities to close Highway 41 just outside the park.
The Railroad Fire, which ignited Tuesday afternoon north of Oakhurst, had charred 1,901 acres of foothills in and around the Sierra National Forest as of Thursday morning said, Alex Olow, a spokesman for Sierra National Forest.
The blaze was spreading northwest, fueled by mixed brush and timber. A coalition of about 350 firefighters from several agencies were battling the fire with helicopters, air tankers, and fire engines.
High temperatures and strong winds had spread the fire toward the southeast Wednesday afternoon, but firefighters were able to contain further expansion in that direction, Olow said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Mandatory evacuations were in place for the small community of Sugar Pine, close to the fires origin, as well as nearby Sugar Pine Camp and
Fish Camp. The popular Teneya Lodge was closed to visitors.
Officials did not say what structures had burned or where, but said 100 buildings remained threatened. The fire was 5 percent contained.
Visitors to Yosemite were advised to use the parks northerly entrances on Highway 140 or Highway 120.
A number of fires, many of them started by lightning, have burned in the Yosemite area in recent weeks. Glacier Point Road inside the park remained closed Wednesday because of the 4,150-acre Empire Fire. Several trails in the Wawona area also were closed because of the 6,100-acre South Fork Fire.
The South Fork Fire was burning within a mile of the community of Wawona, which is inside the national park, and temporarily prompted the evacuation of residents there. But the evacuation order has since been lifted.
Smoky skies have been pervasive in many parts of the park.