Firefighter killed battling massive California wildfires

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite Valley

It was not clear if McGlover, who was being held on $1 million bail, had retained an attorney.

That fire, about 150 miles (240 km) north of Sacramento, had blackened 20,000 acres (8,100 hectares) as of Thursday, three times its size a day earlier. The fire remains out of control.

The fire is one of several across California as the state endures a heat wave.

Firefighters improved containment lines and fell hazard trees around Wawona Campground southeast of the fire perimeter.

County officials ordered an evacuation about an hour after the fire started.

Hundreds of miles to the south, winds were absent over the fire in Southern California's San Jacinto Mountains. There are no reports of injuries.

In the San Francisco Bay Area at least two homes have burned in a fast-moving wildfire in Clayton.

Fire stoked by hot and windy weather raged through a forest in far northern California on Thursday. An estimated 600 homes were threatened. At least four homes burned as crews used aircraft to attack the flames that quickly burned almost 5 square miles (12 square kilometres) of dry brush and timber in inaccessible terrain.

Helicopters making water drops and air tankers pouring red flame retardant circled overhead as flames burned both sides of the main road leading to the scenic town of Idyllwild.

Park spokesman Scott Gediman says the exodus was orderly and visitors are understanding of the decision to close.

Vishal says while he understands it for safety reasons, the closure is still disappointing.

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The wildfire has also impacted businesses that rely heavily on tourism. The glacial valley has been enveloped by a choking haze of smoke from the Ferguson Fire.

"These closures include all hotels, campgrounds, and visitor services in Yosemite Valley and Wawona", NPS's message stated.

One firefighter was killed battling the blaze and six others were hurt, officials said.

Which parts of the park will be closed and for how long?

Anyone staying there will be required to leave, and no one will be allowed back in until at least Sunday, park officials said.

While Yosemite, which greets 4 million visitors each year, wasn't under imminent danger from the Ferguson Fire, authorities chose to shut down the park to allow fire crews to perform protective measures - like burning away brush along roadways - without having to deal with park traffic. It is 25 percent contained.

In the north, new evacuations were expanded to about 2,200 people in the wilderness recreation region east of Redding that included Shasta and its historic former courthouse and ruins of brick buildings that make up Shasta State Historic Park.

Visitors were told to leave the affected areas by noon.

Much of the fire, which has draped the park in heavy smoke, is burning in steep, rugged terrain west of the park with little to no access roads.

The closure was heartbreaking for travellers, many of whom mapped out their trips months in advance to hike and climb amid the spectacular views of cascading waterfalls and sheer rock faces.

"Get yourself out of here if you can", Yosemite National Park Superintendent Michael Reynolds told evacuees, tourists, and park employees inside the Yosemite Valley Auditorium on Tuesday, The Fresno Bee reported.

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