July 18 (UPI) — A deadly wildfire burning along the western edge of California’s Yosemite National Park increased in size on Tuesday as it continued to expand to the east and south.
The Ferguson Fire grew to 12,525 acres with 5 percent containment, the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team said. About 1,486 firefighters and other personnel were battling the blaze, which began on Friday.
Weather is forecast to remain hot and dry in the area for the next week with isolated thunderstorms possible over the Sierra crest.
Heavy smoke is expected to impact the Merced River Corridor overnight, the interagency team said.
Officials ordered evacuations for part of the park, including Cedar Lodge/Savage’s Trading Post, Sweetwater Ridge, Clearing House and Mariposa Pines and portions of Highway 140 remained closed on Tuesday.
As the fire expands, it will continue to threaten 108 structures, including homes in the Jerseydale, Mariposa Pines, Clearing House and Incline areas.
Braden Varney, 36, a heavy equipment operator with CalFire, died on site after a bulldozer rolled while he was battling the blaze on Saturday. There have been no other reported deaths or injuries related to the fire.