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More evacuations urged as Calif. wildfire spreads into Yosemite, grows to 165 square miles

Friday - 8/23/2013, 8:40pm  ET

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A giant wildfire that's been raging out of control through the timbered slopes of the Sierra Nevada in California has spread into Yosemite National Park.

Authorities are urging more evacuations in nearby communities where thousands have already been forced out by the flames.

The week-long blaze has spread to more than 165 square miles and was only 2 percent contained. The U.S. Forest Service says the fire is threatening about 4,500 homes. It already has destroyed four homes and 12 outbuildings. More than 2,000 firefighters are on the lines and one has been injured.

The fire has hit the park at the height of summer season. It has closed some backcountry hiking but is not threatening the Yosemite Valley region, one of California's most popular tourist destinations. The glacier-carved valley offers visitors such iconic sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Bridalveil and Yosemite falls.

Sound:

%@AP Links

149-c-14-(Gosia Wozniacki (GOH'-shah vohzh-NYAHT'-skah), AP correspondent)-"structures are threatened"-AP correspondent Gosia Wozniacki reports a wildfire that's been raging near northern California's Yosemite National Park has crossed into the park, though so far the structural damage has been outside the park limits. (23 Aug 2013)

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148-c-12-(Gosia Wozniacki (GOH'-shah vohzh-NYAHT'-skah), AP correspondent)-"of the park"-AP correspondent Gosia Wozniacki reports a huge California wildfire that's caused hundreds to evacuate their homes has crossed the border into Yosemite. (23 Aug 2013)

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150-c-11-(Gosia Wozniacki (GOH'-shah vohzh-NYAHT'-skah, AP correspondent)-"is now imminent"-AP correspondent Gosia Wozniacki reports evacuations continue in communities near Yosemite. ((watch for dating; refers to imminent danger) (23 Aug 2013)

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193-a-11-(Julie Hutchinson, battalion chief, Cal Fire, in AP interview)-"the fire's spread"-Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson says firefighters are only at the beginning stages of a strategy against the Rim Fire. (23 Aug 2013)

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191-a-14-(Julie Hutchinson, battalion chief, Cal Fire, in AP interview)-"fires we have"-Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson says many Californians far from Yosemite are smelling and seeing smoke from wildfires. ((Yosemite is pronounced yoh-SEH'-mih-tee)) (23 Aug 2013)

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192-a-11-(Julie Hutchinson, battalion chief, Cal Fire, in AP interview)-"105 thousand acres"-Cal Fire Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson says the Rim Fire is raging out of control and has spread into Yosemite National Park. ((Yosemite is pronounced yoh-SEH'-mih-tee)) (23 Aug 2013)

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APPHOTO CAMOD102: Colorado Rural Protection firefighter Molly McGee fights the Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest Thursday, Aug.22, 2013. (AP Photo/The Modesto Bee, Andy Alfaro) LOCAL TV OUT (KXTV10, KCRA3, KOVR13, FOX40, KMAX31, KQCA58, CENTRAL VALLEY TV); LOCAL PRINT OUT (TURLOCK JOURNAL, CERES COURIER, OAKDALE LEADER, MODESTO VIEW, PATTERSON IRRIGATOR, MANTECA BULLETIN, RIPON, RECROD, SONORA UNION DEMOCRAT, AMADOR LEDGER DISPATCH, ESCALON TIMES, CALAVERAS ENTERPRISE, RIVERBANKS NEWS) LOCAL INTERNET OUT (TURLOCK CITY NEWS.COM, MOTHER LODE.COM) (22 Aug 2012)

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APPHOTO FX104: In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the Rim Fire burns near Groveland Ranger Station in Groveland, Calif. The wildfire outside Yosemite National Park -- one of more than 50 major brush blazes burning across the western U.S. -- more than tripled in size overnight and still threatens about 2,500 homes, hotels and camp buildings. Fire officials said the blaze burning in remote, steep terrain had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained on Thursday, down from 5 percent a day earlier. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service) (22 Aug 2013)

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APPHOTO FX106: In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the Rim Fire burns near Yosemite National Park, Calif. The wildfire outside Yosemite National Park -- one of more than 50 major brush blazes burning across the western U.S. -- more than tripled in size overnight and still threatens about 2,500 homes, hotels and camp buildings. Fire officials said the blaze burning in remote, steep terrain had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained on Thursday, down from 5 percent a day earlier. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service) (22 Aug 2013)

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APPHOTO FX105: In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, the Rim Fire burns near Groveland Ranger Station in Groveland, Calif. The wildfire outside Yosemite National Park -- one of more than 50 major brush blazes burning across the western U.S. -- more than tripled in size overnight and still threatens about 2,500 homes, hotels and camp buildings. Fire officials said the blaze burning in remote, steep terrain had grown to more than 84 square miles and was only 2 percent contained on Thursday, down from 5 percent a day earlier. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service) (22 Aug 2013)

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