TUOLUMNE CITY, Calif. -- Crews working to contain one of California’s largest-ever wildfires made advances overnight against the flames threatening San Francisco’s water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias.
Containment of the Rim Fire more than doubled to 15percent, although it was within a mile of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of San Francisco’s famously pure drinking water, officials said Monday.
“Obviously, it’s the water supply of the city of San Francisco, so we’re paying a lot of attention to that,” said Glen Stratton, an operations section chief on the fire.
The fire, which has grown to 234 square miles in size, also posed a threat to giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park. Crews were using sprinklers and lighting fires to clear brush, though the fire remained several miles from the massive trees, Stratton said.
Another part of the fire that is also burning into the park was not of major concern because it was running into rocks that are not heavily forested, Stratton said.
While it has closed some backcountry hiking, the fire has not threatened the Yosemite Valley, home to iconic sights such as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Bridalveil and Yosemite falls. Most of the park remained open to visitors. Park spokesman Scott Gediman said Monday morning he was not aware of any additional threats to the park overnight.
The U.S. Forest Service says about 4,500 structures are threatened by the fire. At least 23 structures have been destroyed, though officials have not determined whether they were homes or rural outbuildings.