Fire Near Yosemite Explodes to 4,300 Acres as Officials Mourn Firefighter Killed on Front Lines


File photo of an air tanker dropping fire retardant on a Southern California wildfire. (Credit: Getty Images)

A forest fire burning near Yosemite National Park exploded overnight to 4,300 acres, forcing the closure of Highway 140 into the park and prompting evacuations of nearby communities, officials said.

The fire was only 2% contained Sunday, a day after a firefighter was killed battling the blaze. No structures have been lost.

The fire, which erupted late Friday, is burning in a wilderness area southwest of the park and has prompted evacuations in Briceburg, Cedar Lodge and Mariposa Pines north of Bear Clover. An evacuation advisory was also in effect Sunday for the Jerseydale area.

The fire is burning in rugged, steep terrain where drought-stricken trees are providing plenty of fuel, said Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean, whose agency is assisting the U.S. Forest Service in battling the blaze.

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