Wildfire closes Highway 140 entrance into Yosemite; 1000 acres burned

FRESNO, Calif.

                  |   Watch Videos Above for Extended Coverage   |

70 structures, including homes and businesses, are being threatened by the fire, as well as 35 outbuildings. Those areas have been evacuated.

As night fell over the mountains near Yosemite Thursday, the Motor Fire continued to burn up the hillside. Flames burned close to the road in many areas.

The fire began on the south side of the canyon. The California Highway Patrol said an RV caught fire and exploded just sometime between noon and 1pm.

The explosion sent flames into the brush. The fire quickly jumped the Merced River and began burning up the steep hills.

"That makes it more difficult, some of the areas that are currently burning are not accessible by road," said Sierra National Forest spokesperson Rebecca Garcia.

As many as six helicopters scooped up water from the Merced River to drop on the fire.

Flames crept close to the Cedar Lodge, where more than 300 tourists had to be evacuated. Hand crews tried to build a fire line around the lodge, but they were forced out when the fire grew too close. The CHP escorted several families back to their rooms to gather their stuff.

Gerard Vantonder and his family are visiting from the UK, they made a mad dash to their rooms to pack their belongings. "The highway patrol said we have relatively short time to do it, so we're at it," he said.

A North Carolina couple's plans were also ruined by the fire. "[I'm] very disappointed, we're only here for a couple of days," said Lynn Greene. "We may not make it in [to Yosemite] after all," said Arnold Greene.

There is a power outage in Yosemite West and El Portal, those areas have not been evacuated. Fire crews say power could be restored Friday, if conditions permit.

An incident command team is meeting at 10 Friday morning to regroup. At that time more evacuations could be ordered.

Stay with ABC30 and ABC30.COM for updated information.

Copyright © 2020 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.