Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – The Rim Fire has burned 222,777 acres or 348 square miles in California’s Stanislaus National Forest on Sunday making it the fourth-largest wildfire in the state history, according to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
Previously, the fourth-largest wildfire in California was the Matilija Fire that burned 343 acres in Ventura County in September 1932, according to Cal Fire. Still at No. 1 was the Cedar Fire in San Diego County that burned 273,246 acres in October 2003 killing 14 people and destroying 2,820 structures.
That fire was caused by a signal fire set up by a West Covina man who was separated from his deer hunting group.
The Rim Fire is also the largest is the U.S. this year, said USFS spokesman Trevor Augustino.
Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant predicted the containment of the fire by Sept. 20.
Information posted by the USFS on InciWeb indicate that the fire raging since Aug. 17 is 40 percent contained with 11 homes, three commercial properties and 97 outbuildings destroyed. Of the 5,115 firefighters conducting burning operation and putting fire lines, five were injured. The cost of controlling the fire has reached $60 million.
The closed area of the national forest expanded to include the Mi-Wok Ranger District on the northern end and the entire Groveland Ranger District. Yosemite National Park has closed Tamarack Flat and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds, both located along Tioga Road.
An evacuation advisory remains in effect for Ponderosa Hills and areas east, along the south side of Highway 108 up to Pinecrest. Highway 120 at the Yosemite National Park boundary west to Buck Meadows has been evacuated.
Winds brought smoke from the Rim Fire to the Yosemite Valley on Friday but the haze is expected to clear by Monday or Tuesday, fire rangers said. The haze reduced visitors to the Yosemite park as did road closures. Closed roads were parts of Highway 120, Cherry Lake Road, Evergreen Road and Old Yosemite Road.