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Valley Public Radio Staff
Mon July 28, 2014
UPDATE: El Portal Fire Near Yosemite Now Over 3,900 Acres; 34 Percent Contained
Update: 11 a.m. 7/31/14 - The El Portal fire has grown to 3,900 acres and is still 34 percent contained. According to authorities the evacuation order for Foresta will be lifted at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. The Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) leading into Yosemite Valley has now reopened.
Update: 11 a.m. 7/30/14 - El Portal fire has grown to over 3,500 acres and is 34 percent contained. From fire authorities:
Fire officials do remain concerned over the fire’s growth on the north and northeast sections of the fire perimeter as efforts continue to address problem spots along these areas. Steep, rugged terrain continues to challenge the efforts of firefighters but progress is being made. The weather forecast calls for continued high temperatures reaching as high as 100 degrees near El Portal. These patterns will continue as a high pressure over the region remains stationary. Thunderstorm activity, if any, is predicted to stay to the east of the fire. Fire activity is expected to continue through evening particularly in the north and northeast sections of the fire as a result of poor overnight relative humidity recovery.
Update: 10 a.m. 7/29/14 - El Portal fire has grown to 3,060 acres and is 19% contained. As of Tuesday morning the evacuation order for Old El Portal has been lifted.
A rapidly moving wildfire on the western edge of Yosemite National Park has burned more than 2,600 acres and has prompted evacuations of two nearby communities, Foresta and Old El Portal.
As of early Monday, Yosemite National Park officials said the fire was 5 percent contained and had destroyed at least one structure in Foresta, while threatening others.
The blaze started late Saturday afternoon near Highway 140 and the community of El Portal. The fire is burning on both national park lands and the Stanislaus National Forest.
Other evacuations and road closures are in effect. Crane Flat and Yosemite Creek campgrounds are closed while Bridalveil campground is being used for fire operations.
Big Oak Flat Road is closed between Crane Flat south to the Highway 140 junction. Tioga Pass Road, Highways 41 and 140 remain open.
More than 700 firefighters are battling the fire. The cause is unknown.