Fires near Yosemite almost contained

MARIPOSA, Calif. " Firefighters said today they were getting closer to containing a 53-square-mile wildfire that had destroyed more than 20 homes in the mountains outside Yosemite National Park.

The blaze was about 80 percent contained this morning and all evacuation orders had been lifted.

Firefighters were focused on building fire lines on the blaze's north flank and said they didn't expect it to grow much more.

The fire had destroyed 21 homes, forced the evacuation of 350 other houses and spread a smoky haze over the national park since it was sparked by a target shooter last week.

Elsewhere on Saturday, a wildfire in northcentral Washington had blackened more than 3 square miles of timber and rangeland near Omak.

An evacuation order for eight homes remained in effect this morning, said a spokeswoman at firefighting headquarters, Koshare (koh-SHAH'-ree) Lomnicki.

Lomnicki said the fire subsided during the night as the wind dropped, and a breeze of only 3 to 8 mph was forecast for today.

The cause of the Washington fire, which started Thursday, remained under investigation.

California fire officials say wildfire have charred more acreage already this year than in any other year since the 1930s, when the state began compiling statistics.


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