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Rim Fire Near Yosemite Grows; Highway Closed, Evacuations Ordered

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An image of the Rim Fire from the cockpit of a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped (MAFFS) C-130 Hercules assigned to the Channel Islands Air National Guard station. (CalFire)

An image of the Rim Fire from the cockpit of a Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-equipped (MAFFS) C-130 Hercules assigned to the Channel Islands Air National Guard station. (CalFire)

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (KCBS) – A huge wildfire near Yosemite National Park has grown to more than 15 square miles, destroyed at least two home and was threatening 2,500 structures north of Highway 120, according to U.S. Forest Service.

The Rim Fire has forced the shutdown of the highway which serves as the main access to the west side of the park and prompted a number of evacuations.

Highway 120 remained closed on Tuesday from Smith Station to the west, and four miles east of Buck Meadows because of the massive blaze that broke out Saturday.

No westbound traffic was being allowed out of Yosemite National Park because of the Rim Fire, which was burning at a fast pace in the Stanislaus National Forest.

“It burned to about 1,000 acres as of 24 hours ago and in that 24 hours it has burned to nearly 11,000 acres now,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jerry Snyder told KCBS Tuesday morning.

The park remains open and visitors can use State Route 140 and State Route 4.

As of 10 a.m., the fire’s containment stood at 0%, and evacuations had been ordered, though not within the park.

“It has not reached Yosemite,” Snyder said, “although the smoke probably is unbearable for many people there.”

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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