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A wildfire outside the Yosemite National Park is threatening thousands of homes and leading tourists to leave the area during peak season.
The blaze has quadrupled in size and is now only 2% contained, with about 1,000 firefighters battling it.
California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, as officials focused on protecting the small communities of Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake.
Fire officials said the blaze, which started last Saturday, had grown to more than 98 square miles (253 square km), making it one of the largest in the nation.
“It’s growing exponentially,” a spokesman for the US Forest Service told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The blaze has destroyed two homes and seven outbuildings, and it threatens about 2,500 homes, hotels and campgrounds.
Some schools have been shut down for the week, as the sky remains dark with clouds and ash.
The park remains open. But the blaze has caused the closure of a 4-mile (6.4-km) stretch of State Route 120, one of three entrances into Yosemite on the west side – hurting businesses that live off park traffic.
In Groveland, a community of 600 people just a few miles from the fire and 25 miles (40 km) from the entrance of Yosemite, businesses have closed and people who had vacation rental homes are cancelling plans.
“Usually during summer, it’s swamped with tourists, you can’t find parking downtown,” said Christina Wilkinson, who runs Groveland’s social media pages and lives in nearby Pine Mountain Lake.
“Now, the streets are empty. All we see is firefighters, emergency personnel and fire trucks.”