A wildfire near Yosemite National Park that has already claimed the life of one firefighter and forced mandatory evacuations has more than doubled in size between Sunday night and Monday morning. The Fergeson Fire, as it is now being called, began on Friday night and has since spread throughout areas surrounding the park, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“We had extreme fire behavior overnight,” said John DeYoe, a spokesman for the inter-agency effort currently fighting the fire, while speaking to USA Today. “It caught a couple of drainages [low-lying areas] and ran.”
Currently, officials state that only “two percent” of the fire is contained and that a “massive order” of firefighters and equipment has been directed to the scene. Unfortunately, high temperatures and ” inaccessible terrain” are going to make it harder for crews to contain the blaze.
One firefighter already died while battling the fire. Thirty-two-year-old Braden Varney died on Saturday when the bulldozer he was operating rolled over. Varney leaves behind a wife and two children.
A mandatory evacuation of portions of the park and nearby communities was ordered on Monday, and some key roads leading into the park have been closed. According to the AP, the fire is coming “at the peak of tourist season.”
Officials from Yosemite National Park have warned visitors to expect delays when entering the park and to be aware of the potential danger from the smoke while visiting.
Visitors who are sensitive to smoke should plan to limit any strenuous outdoor activities or plan to visit the park another time.
— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) July 15, 2018