Massive California Fire Sends Smoke All the Way to Idaho While Choking Yosemite, Lake Tahoe

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Plumes of smoke rise around Lake McClure, near Mariposa, Calif. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

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Churning columns of smoke from a massive Central Valley fire are creating a haunting landscape from Yosemite National Park to Lake Tahoe.

The smoke plume extends north from Mariposa County into the Sierra and neighboring Nevada, according to the National Weather Service. It has traveled as far as Idaho, some 500 miles away.

The Detwiler fire, which has forced more than 4,000 residents to flee, swelled to more than 70,000 acres Thursday and was 10% contained, according to Cal Fire. Officials said the fire was burning in an area littered with dead trees, killed by bark beetles and years of drought.

The blaze has destroyed 99 structures, 50 of which were homes, according to Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean. Flames damaged an additional 11 houses, and about 1,500 structures were threatened. Evacuation orders were still in effect for Mariposa and the town of Coulterville.

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