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Human-caused wildfire in Sequoia National Park now fully contained

Human-caused wildfire in Sequoia National Park now fully contained
A wildfire in Sequoia National Park, pictured here in 2009, began Saturday afternoon and has burned 30 acres. (Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)

The wildfire in Sequoia National Park that prompted the evacuation of some campgrounds in the afternoon was fully contained by Saturday night.

Park officials initially said the blaze had burned 30 acres, but Mike Theune,  fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, said a closer inspection of the "rugged terrain" pegged the damage at 20 acres.

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The fire – the first of the year – started Saturday about 1:30 p.m. east of the park's Ash Mountain entrance and was fully contained by 9 p.m.

An oak woodland and mixed vegetation – suffering, like the rest of the state, from serious dehydration – served as easy kindling, Theune said.

"We've had an exceptional drought year," he said. "Plants are really dry."

Several fire engines had arrived by Saturday evening, as had two firefighting aircraft. Theune said the blaze was "determined as a human caused fire and is under investigation."

While two campgrounds – Potwisha and Buckeye Flat – and the Hospital Rock picnic area were evacuated for some of the day, Theune said the stay-away orders had been lifted by Saturday night. A portion of Generals Highway, which was closed from the Foothills Visitor Center to the Giant Forest Museum, was also reopened – although all vehicles were being escorted by park staff, Theune said.

For more California news, follow @marisagerber

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