California's Rim Fire 80 percent contained

Sept. 4, 2013 at 7:21 AM
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TUOLUMNE CITY, Calif., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The Rim fire, burning in northern California, was 80 percent contained, up from 70 percent a day earlier, fire officials said Wednesday.

Tom Medema, chief of interpretation and education for Yosemite National Park, said "things are going well," though Tioga Road, the main east-west artery through the park, would stay closed due to the danger of falling charred trees.

The fire has burned 235,841 acres, 66,155 of which lie within Yosemite, making it the largest wildfire in the park's history, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported Tuesday.

Evacuated residents in northern Tuolumne County were told they could return home Tuesday, and hundreds of firefighters were reassigned or sent home, the newspaper said.

Full containment is still not expected until Sept. 20, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The improved conditions are due to cooler weather over Labor Day and fire lines built around the fire in Stanislaus National Forest, the newspaper reported. The fire has also been slowed by the landscape as it reaches lakes and reservoirs, and high-altitude terrain, which has smaller trees and more granite.

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