A Deadly Wildfire Is Threatening California’s Yosemite National Park

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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A wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park in California has burned more than 9,200 acres, killing one and forcing several nearby communities to evacuate.

The Ferguson Fire began Monday, but firefighters have struggled to get control of the blaze. By Monday morning, the fire was just 2 percent contained, according to ABC News.

The fire doubled in size Sunday night, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke tweeted Monday.

Heavy fire equipment operator Braden Varney died fighting the fire. The bulldozer he was operating rolled over in the rocky terrain. Authorities are investigating the incident for failures in training or maintenance, California’s Mercury News reported.

Yosemite remains open, although many visitors have canceled plans to visit the park and backed out of reservations, costing park businesses thousands in lost revenue.

“All the campgrounds and the hotels are open — the shuttles are running,” Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman told Mercury News. “We have limited visibility, but aside from that, the park is open and fully operational.”

The Ferguson Fire is one of several burning in California and one of 56 large fires burning across the U.S., according to Mercury News. (RELATED: The 2018 Wildfire Season Is On Track To Be As Bad As Last Year’s, US Forest Chief Says)

The U.S., mainly the West, suffered through the most destructive fire season ever in 2017, when the federal government spent a record $2.9 billion on fire suppression. Wildfires destroyed roughly 12,300 homes and killed dozens of people, including 14 firefighters, across the country.

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