Publication Date August 14, 2017

Yosemite wildfire burning in trees killed by beetles

United States
Photo: U.S. Forest Service

Rangers at Yosemite National Park have alerted a small community about a wildfire that crews are struggling to contain as they fight it from the air and ground, officials said Monday.

Flames have come within 2 miles of Wawona, a tiny community near the park's south entrance that swells this time of year with up to 2,000 visitors attending a church camp and renting cabins around a market and small library.

A lightning strike in recent weeks may be to blame for the blaze that erupted into a wildfire on Sunday afternoon, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said.

It has burned 1.4 square miles, or 1,613 acres, of wilderness and pine forests 65 miles north of Fresno. Firefighters do not have the flames' boundary contained, the National Park Service reported.

It is burning through forest thick with trees killed during California's recent five-year drought that weakened trees, leaving many vulnerable to a beetle infestation, officials reported.