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California Wildfire Continues to Engulf Yosemite National Park

Update Date: Aug 23, 2013 11:13 PM EDT
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Yosemite National Park has been ravaged by a wildfire which has been taking over rugged land west of the park on Thursday, driving hundreds of residents and visitors out of the area.

As of Friday afternoon, the fire has burned up more than 105,620 acres after having nearly doubled in size overnight, according to the SF Gate. The fire has destroyed 16 structures and caused one injury as it burned in Stanislaus National Forest, according to an incident report. More than 2,100 responders were battling the blaze, which was just 2 percent contained.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency in Tuolumne County on Thursday, a declaration that helps free up money and resources to fight the blaze. Brown acted after the fire's size rose sharply to 54,000 acres, up from an estimate of 16,000 acres the day before. The total late Thursday was 63,366.

According to Mercury News, Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said 11,000 acres of wilderness in the park was burning. But he noted that was a mere fraction of the park, which people from around the world book reservations for up to a year in advance.

"The terrain is so difficult that you can't go into direct attack," Forest Service spokesman Trevor Augustino said, according to Reuters.

Firefighters who are dealing with the sprawling flames are faced with smoke exposure and the potential for injury as the fire skipped across the steep territory, according to an incident report.

"The biggest challenge is the fire itself," Lee Bentley, a spokesperson with the forest service, told NBC Bay Area. "It's just too doggone dangerous."

"There are certainly people who backpack there (in the area burning), but it's over 20 miles from Yosemite Valley, Half Dome and a lot of visitor attractions," Gediman said. "There's no reason people should cancel their trips."

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