US fire expected to burn deeper into park
SAN FRANCISCO - Reuters
The cause of the wildfire remained under investigation. REUTERS photoA wildfire raging in the northwest part of Yosemite National Park was expected to advance farther into the park on Aug. 27 and continue to threaten a reservoir that supplies most of San Francisco’s water.
The so-called Rim Fire has charred more than 64,749 hectares, which is larger than Chicago, most of that in the Stanislaus National Forest west of Yosemite.
But the blaze was expected to move east overnight and push deeper into Yosemite, as well as in areas to the north, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Trevor Augustino.
The eastern flank of the fire burned to within a 0.8 kilometers of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy reservoir on the Tuolumne River. It supplies 85 percent of the water consumed by 2.6 million people in San Francisco and several communities in three adjacent counties about 320 kilometers to the west.
With the flames so close, ash fell on the surface of the reservoir on Aug. 26. But water samples from the supply were testing clean by the late afternoon, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Suzanne Gautier said.
The blaze has destroyed about a dozen homes, and some 4,500 dwellings remained threatened.
Most of the 1,200-square-mile Yosemite National Park has remained open to the public. The cause of the wildfire remained under investigation. More than 3,700 firefighters have been assigned to the blaze.