LOS ANGELES, July 23 (Xinhua) -- A huge wildfire, dubbed "Ferguson Fire," is moving closer to the Yosemite National Park which is one of the most visited national parks in the western U.S. state of California.
The fire, which started on July 13 in the Sierra National Forest, grew to 33,743 acres (136 square kilometres) by Monday morning with only 13 percent containment, according to the latest update from the U.S. Forest Service.
Although the Ferguson Fire is burning in very rough terrain with high firefighter exposure due to very hot conditions and limited access requiring heavy rotor wing support, firefighters are still making good progress building lines to help contain the fire. One nonresidential structure has been reported destroyed but dozens more have been saved because of the efforts of crews throughout the fire area, said the U.S. Forest Service.
A total of 3,066 firefighters are battling the blaze on the scene, and are aided by 199 engines, 46 water tenders, 16 helicopters and 43 dozers.
The fire has claimed one firefighter's life and injured six others in the past ten days. Heavy Fire Equipment Operator Braden Varney, 36, was killed on July 14 while using a bulldozer to build a containment line near Yosemite National Park. Part of the fire was only 300 to 3000 km south and southwest of the park.
Weather conditions could hamper firefighters in coming days. Weather forecasts are calling for hotter and drier air throughout the week as conditions align for critical and extreme fire weather.
Yosemite National Park remains open but Highway 140, El Portal Road, and Arch Rock Entrance are closed due to the fire.
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. Some 4 million visitors flock to the park each year.