Firefighting, Wildland Firefighting

Yosemite Fire Prompts Evacuations

Investigators are trying to determine whether a raging fire near Half Dome that forced rescue workers to airlift 85 people out of the back country in Yosemite National Park is part of a fire that had been smoldering for more than a month, reports

The raging fire, which sent plumes of smoke over Yosemite, is presumed to have been caused by gusting winds that picked up and deposited flames from the older fire into a populated area.

The Meadow Fire was sparked by lightning around July 20 but was not located by park officials until Aug. 14. It was only 19 acres on Sunday before winds picked up and Yosemite officials realized they had an emergency.

By Monday, officials were looking at a 2,600 acre blaze that was threatening popular wilderness camps, including Little Yosemite Valley, where hikers and backpackers often gather before their final assault on the summit of the internationally famous sliced-in-half granite dome.

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