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Firecrews continue battle to contain Yosemite wildfire

The fire spreads towards a highway near Yosemite National Park. Credit: Reuters

A giant wildfire burning at the edge of Yosemite National Park has consumed 293 square miles and is 23 percent contained, US fire officials have said.

At least 111 structures have been destroyed and around 4,500 others are under threat as well as water supplies, and iconic giant sequoia trees.

Smoke from the fire, which is one of the largest wildfires in California's history, billows in the sky Credit: Reuters

Forestry experts have said long intervals between wildfires and years of drought primed the Sierra Nevada mountains are contributing factors behind the blaze.

A charred caution sign Credit: Reuters

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Yosemite wildfire one of the largest ever in California

The Rim Fire seen from the Pilot Peak Lookout near Yosemite National Park in California.
The Rim Fire seen from the Pilot Peak Lookout near Yosemite National Park in California. Credit: REUTERS/Mike McMillan/US Forest Service/Handout

A wildfire raging in Yosemite National Park in the US has now burned 184,481 acres, making it making it one of the largest on record in California.

Handout image of the Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park.
The fire is just 20 percent contained, the US Forest Service said. Credit: REUTERS/Mike McMillan/US Forest Service/Handout

A total of 4,081 fire personnel have been sent to tackle the Rim Fire, which is still just 20 percent contained.

An out building and pickup truck damaged by the Rim Fire.
An out building and pickup truck damaged by the Rim Fire continues to cause destruction. Credit: REUTERS/Mike McMillan/US Forest Service/Handout

The US Forest Service said the blaze's growth potential was "extreme" and its cause is currently under investigation.

Firefighters rush to protect unique giant sequoias

Sacramento Metropolitan firefighter John Graf monitors the Rim Fire line near Camp Mather, California.
Sacramento Metropolitan firefighter John Graf monitors the Rim Fire line near Camp Mather, California. Credit: Reuters

The Rim Fire has threatened two groves of giant sequoias that are unique in the region, prompting park employees to clear brush and set sprinklers around the huge trees.

Firefighters have been battling the huge blaze.
Firefighters have been battling the huge blaze. Credit: Reuters

While sequoias have a chemical in their bark to help them resist fire, they can be damaged when flames move through slowly.

See more: Smoke from Yosemite wildfire seen from space station

The wildfire in Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas has now burned 149,780 acres - an area larger than the city of Chicago.
The wildfire in Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas has now burned 149,780 acres - an area larger than the city of Chicago. Credit: Reuters

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Smoke from Yosemite wildfire seen from space station

A satellite image of the drought-fueled Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park
A satellite image of the drought-fueled Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park Credit: REUTERS/NASA/Jeff Schmaltz/Handout

The smoke from the wildfires in California has been pictured by an astronaut on the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Karen L Nyberg has tweeted two pictures of the smoke.

Read more: Yosemite fire 'size of Chicago'

NASA astronaut Karen L Nyberg tweeted this picture from the International Space Station of the Yosemite fires.
NASA astronaut Karen L Nyberg tweeted this picture from the International Space Station of the Yosemite fires. Credit: Twitter/ @AstroKarenN/ NASA

Yosemite wildfire affects San Francisco water source

A raging wildfire in Yosemite National Park has rained ash on the reservoir that is the chief source of San Francisco's famously pure drinking water, according to the Associated Press.

The Rim Fire burns near Buck Meadows, California. Credit: Reuters/Max Whittaker

Utility bosses scrambled to send more water towards the metropolitan area before it became tainted as nearly 3,700 firefighters battled the 230-square-mile blaze, the biggest wildfire on record in California's Sierra Nevada.

"We're taking advantage that the water we're receiving is still of good quality," said Harlan Kelly, general manager of the city's Public Utilities Commission. "We're bringing down as much water as possible and replenishing all of the local reservoirs."

They reported modest progress, saying the fire was 20% contained.

Read: Yosemite fire 'size of Chicago'

Almost 150,000 acres burned in Yosemite wildfire

California's fire service reports that the wildfire in Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas has now burned 149,780 acres - an area larger than the city of Chicago.

Firefighters have been trying to bring the flames under control since last week but have only contained 15 percent of the fire.

NBC Bay area reports that 23 structures gave been burned, but that 4,500 are threatened.

Yosemite wildfire damages San Francisco power lines

The wildfire raging around the edge of Yosemite National Park is threatening key electricity lines serving San Francisco. The fire has damaged the electrical infrastructure serving the city, and forced the some power lines to shut down. There have been no reports of electricity blackouts, so far.

Read: State of emergency declared over Yosemite wildfire

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