GROVELAND,California (AP):Hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to protect mountain communities in the path of a fire raging north of Yosemite National Park, as fierce winds gust on Sierra mountain ridges and flames jump from treetop to treetop.
Winds gusting to 50 mph (80 kph) and movement of the fire from bone-dry brush on the ground to 100-foot (30-meter) oak and pine treetops have created dire conditions.
"A crown fire is much more difficult to fight," Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told The Associated Press yesterday. "Our firefighters are on the ground having to spray up."
Overnight, the fire grew seven square miles (18 square kilometres) as firefighters gained little ground in slowing the now 207-square-mile (536-square-kilometre) blaze, Berlant said. The fire is covering an area about the size of Chicago.
"Today, unfortunately, we are expecting strong winds out of the south," he said. "It's going to allow the fire to advance to the northeast."