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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fire Near Yosemite Raises Concern Over Dry Summer

The Castens wildfire burns near Yosemite National Park on Monday, June 17, 2013. (YouTube screenshot)

The Castens wildfire burns near Yosemite National Park on Monday, June 17, 2013. (YouTube screenshot)

An unattended campfire near a main route into Yosemite National Park grew into a blaze that led to the evacuations of 1,500 people from 800 homes, but nearly half were allowed to return as firefighters gained ground late Tuesday.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials released the cause of the fire Tuesday, as 2,200 firefighters – up from more than 700 Monday – worked to gain the upper hand on it amid windy, dry conditions.

No other details were available about where the fire started, spokeswoman Karen Guillemin said.

Evacuations orders would be lifted Tuesday night for about 700 people, CalFire officials said.

The fire 6 miles northeast of Mariposa has burned nearly 3 square miles and was 40 percent contained as temperatures dropped.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury, but no structures have been damaged or destroyed, Guillemin said. Crews are clearing brush to create defensive space around homes, laying fire line and dropping retardant from the air.

Firefighters in Colorado were mopping up remaining hot spots from the most destructive wildfire in state history that destroyed 502 homes and charred more than 22 square miles after it broke out Tuesday, June 11.

The Black Forest Fire just outside Colorado Springs killed couple Marc Allen Herklotz, 52, and his wife, Robin Lauran Herklotz, 50, who were identified by authorities Tuesday.

The Colorado fire was 85 percent contained Tuesday as hundreds of evacuated residents were allowed back into the burn area, though they were warned that many would return to rubble, not their homes.

Guest:

  • Tom Wolanski, meteorologist with the U.S. Forest Service.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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