A large, smoky inferno near Wawona in Yosemite National Park continued its slow growth trends into Thursday morning, officials said, and was 25% contained.
The South Fork Fire, located about a mile east of the Wawona community, has burned 4,188 acres, an increase of less than 200 acres from Wednesday.
All evacuations for the Wawona area were lifted at 7 a.m. and heavy demobilization of resources, such as firefighters and equipment, will continue through the day in another positive sign the blaze is being brought under control. Through Thursday, 422 firefighters remained at work on the flames.
It continues to cause poor air quality conditions both in the park, in areas like Yosemite Valley and around Half Dome, and in surrounding communities like Fish Camp and Oakhurst, officials said. Those with sensitivity to smoky conditions are advised to consult with their physicians, and remain inside with the windows closed. Smoke is typically strongest in the mornings, officials said, and clears into the afternoon.
Infrared scans Wednesday showed a significant reduction in heat in the fire’s western half, which earlier this week crept closer to Wawona and forced evacuations. But thanks to the efforts of firefighters performing backburning operations and line construction, the community, which houses around 1,000-2,000 people, was kept safe and largely damage free.
Officials said crews will continue to mop up and extinguish hot spots around the fire, while monitoring its perimeter.
Temperatures for the day are forecast to be around normal for typical summers, and the possibility of stormy weather will decrease throughout the rest of the week.
Yosemite can still be entered from all roads, including Highway 41, officials said.
For more information on the South Fork Fire, dial (209) 379-1493, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5502/, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.