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Crews Work To Keep Yosemite Fire From Giant Sequoia Trees

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA - JULY 28: The El Portal Fire burns on the western edge on July 28, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California. (Photo by Don Smith/Getty Images)

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA – JULY 28: The El Portal Fire burns on the western edge on July 28, 2014 in Yosemite National Park, California. (Photo by Don Smith/Getty Images)

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS/AP) — Fire crews strengthened old containment lines on Wednesday, as they tried to keep a blaze in Yosemite National Park away from a grove of treasured giant sequoia trees.

The fire was about 10 miles away from Merced Grove, park spokesman Scott Gediman said.

“If that is real active, it could go to the Merced Grove,” he said. “But we’re not looking at an imminent threat right now.”

Merced Grove is among three stands of giant sequoias in the park. The towering trees grow only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada and are among the largest and oldest living things on Earth. They can live for longer than 3,000 years and can resist fire.

Gediman said with the exception of some smoke in Yosemite valley, the park itself was not affected and remained open.

The fire was threatening about 50 homes, which remained under evacuation orders. It has destroyed a home and a duplex and burned through more than 5 square miles since it began on Saturday. It was 34 percent contained.

Fire crews also were battling a blaze in the Sierra National Forest about 60 miles northeast of Fresno that grew substantially late Tuesday and had spread across nearly 9 square miles. It was threatening about 20 homes, though they were not under mandatory evacuation orders, said Anne Grandy, a spokeswoman for the park.

Meanwhile, crews were wrapping up a fire about 100 miles northwest of the Yosemite blaze in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Sacramento.

The fire was 90 percent contained on Wednesday morning. It has charred more than 6 1/2 square miles and destroyed 19 homes and 47 outbuildings.

More than 400 homes were evacuated at one point, but all the residents have since been allowed to return home, state fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean said.

Closer to home, crews made quick work of a wildfire in the East San Jose foothills. It began as a car fire Tuesday, then burned 12 acres north of Alum Rock Park.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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