The out-of-control Rim fire has crossed into Yosemite National Park, but the fire line is far from the pristine valley popular with tourists and campers, officials said Friday.
The fire exploded in size overnight Thursday, and moved into the park after scorching more than 105,000 acres in the Stanislaus National Forest, authorities said.
Because the fire is confined to the park’s more remote northwestern section, though, campers in the Yosemite Valley have been largely unaffected, park ranger and spokesman Scott Gediman said.
“It’s 20 miles from the Yosemite Valley,” Gediman said. “It’s still beautiful skies and very little smoke impact to Yosemite Valley and the park.”
Evacuation plans weren’t in the works Friday, he said, but park officials continue to monitor the situation.
“I’ve worked here for 17 years, and the last time we totally closed the park was after the big flood in 1997,” Gediman said.
For now, Gediman said, Yosemite’s campgrounds were still full and vacations were in full swing. Closures along California 120 have cut off westbound traffic from the park, but he said drivers have other options, including the California 140.
On an average summer day, about 4,000 cars pass through the park’s gates, which amounts to approximately 12,000 people, Gediman said. Some of those may stay in the park, he said, and some may be en route to other destinations, such as Lake Tahoe.