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Yosemite blaze fourth largest in California history

02 september 2013, 14:32
US firefighters battling a blaze that has ripped through a stretch of Yosemite National Park made painstaking progress Sunday as the inferno was deemed the fourth largest in California's history, AFP reports.

The mammoth "Rim Fire" that erupted on August 17 has scorched hundreds of thousands of acres of tinder dry forest and brush, including a sizeable chunk of the world famous park visited by millions every year.

On Saturday, officials issued air quality warnings to visitors in the park's fabled Yosemite Valley after smoke from the fire shrouded the area.

In figures released by the multi-agency Inciweb information site on Sunday, officials said the blaze was 40 percent contained, up from 35 percent a day earlier.

The fire has burned some 222,777 acres (348 square miles; 901,547 square kilometers), and continues to threaten 4,500 structures across the region. So far, 11 homes have been destroyed along with 97 outbuildings.

The cause of the fire is not known.

A total of 5,115 personnel have been deployed to tackle the inferno, which has now moved up to fourth place in a list of California's biggest fires.

The largest in California history remains the 2003 Cedar fire in San Diego County, which destroyed 2,820 buildings and left 14 people dead after ripping through 273,246 acres of land.

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