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El Portal fire: Yosemite road reopens, three campgrounds still shut

Big Oak Flat Road in Yosemite National Park reopens as El Portal fire rages

A key roadway near the western entrance to Yosemite National Park that was closed because of the El Portal fire has reopened to traffic.

With the reopening of Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and El Portal Road on Wednesday, all roads inside the park are accessible.

However, park officials warn that road closures "may change at any time" and advise visitors to check on current conditions by calling (209) 372-0200.

Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek and Yosemite Creek campgrounds remained closed because of the fire, which as of late Wednesday was just 34% contained. The blaze, which is also burning in the Stanislaus National Forest, began Saturday and covers about 3,900 acres, according to a park statement.

Smoke is a problem throughout the park. "Park visitors are urged to use caution while driving in the park due to decreased visibility," the statement says. Officials canceled an apple-picking event in Yosemite Valley that had been set for Wednesday.

Yosemite logged more than 3,000 lightning strikes and more than 21 fires touched off between July 14 and 24, the park's website says. Most of these fires are small and occur at high elevation.

The fire that has spread since Saturday began in El Portal, a small community along California 140. The community of Foresta remains evacuated.

Information: Yosemite National Park, InciWeb

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