Rim Fire grows to Yosemite National Park, causing evacuations

August 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Rim Fire has grown to more than 125,000 acres spreading into Yosemite National Park Friday. The fire is only five percent contained. Governor Brown declared a State of Emergency for San Francisco as the fire approaches the Hetch Hetchy Dam and Reservoir in Yosemite, the primary source of power and water for the city.

Fire officials have called for the evacuation of 5,500 homes that are threatened by the Rim Fire.

Taylor Greco, who was evacuated from her home due to the fire, said at first she never thought it would jump so fast and move so close to her house. Friday night Greco was in Chowchilla, praying her home does not get destroyed. Greco saw flames and giant clouds of thick raging smoke not far from her home near Pine Mountain Lake.

"We could see it just black and move in our direction quickly and your gut kicks in and says it's time to go, it's time to go," Greco said.

Greco evacuated but she is constantly watching the massive wildfire from her hotel room in Chowchilla. On Thursday night deputies asked her to leave her house for safety.

"Never in a million years would we have thought that it was going to do what it did and we were going to be in any sort of danger," Greco said.

Six Los Banos firefighters are on the front lines to protecting homes like Greco's. They are all battling the flames for up to 24 hours straight before getting any down time.

"These ridges are so steep they don't have established roads on the top of them to put dozers in real quickly on the top of that," Tim Marrison with Los Banos Fire said.

Marrison says the steep terrain paired with the dry weather is a dangerous mix. After 19 firefighters were killed in an Arizona wildfire in June he and other leaders across the state are emphasizing the importance of one person on every strike team to look out for the others.

"Whose job is to examine the topography, examine the fire behavior, the changes," Marrison said.

Firefighters say they expect the wildfire to grow before it is contained. At this point Los Banos crews say they do not have an estimated time of when they are expected to head back home.


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