• US blaze threatens San Francisco water supply

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    SAN FRANCISCO: The wildfire threatening Yosemite National Park is still burning its way into the huge United States (US) tourist attraction despite dogged efforts by thousands of firefighters using planes and bulldozers.

    Ash is gathering on the surface of a reservoir serving San Francisco, but officials said water quality has not been affected.

    The so-called Rim Fire—California’s seventh biggest ever—now covers some 281 square miles, an area bigger than Chicago.

    The fire, which broke out August 17, was still only 20 percent contained compared to 15 percent on Monday.

    Highway 120, a main road into Yosemite from the west, remains closed as more than 3,700 firefighters battle the flames.

    On the eastern edge of the blaze, flames are racing unimpeded because the terrain is relatively flat.

    “They’re in scouting mode,” Dick Fleishman of the United States Forest Service told the Los Angeles Times, referring to fire crews. “There’s not a lot of real good areas to get out in there and do a lot of work.”

    On Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), firefighters used bulldozers to clear brush and vegetation from land to deny the fire fuel as it approaches the Tuolumne River, hoping it will not cross the waterway.

    The blaze has forced the closure of multiple roads, campgrounds and other facilities in the area, and has also threatened a number of groves of giant sequoia trees, some of the world’s biggest and oldest living organisms.

    It remains more than 15 miles away from the majestic Yosemite Valley area at the heart of the park, visited by millions of tourists every year to see natural wonders including the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations.

    AFP

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