California Wildfire Explodes, Cuts Off Key Route to Yosemite

A wildfire that killed a firefighter has exploded overnight to more than 1,600 hectares and cut off a a key route into Yosemite National Park on Sunday. 

The fire in California’s Mariposa County started on Friday and has burned through 16 kilometers on the park’s western edge. 

It was only 2 percent contained Sunday, a day after a firefighter died while battling the blaze. 

Authorities have issued an evacuation advisory for nearby communities. 

Guests were also ordered to leave Yosemite Cedar Lodge on Saturday, at the height of the tourist season. Lodge employees say they expect to be closed at least one more day. 

On Saturday, a heavy equipment operator died on the fire line trying to dig a trench to keep the flames from extending into a nearby community.

Governor Jerry Brown has ordered flags at the California Capitol to be flown at half-staff to honor “a man who dedicated his life to protecting his fellow Californians.”

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