Wildfire Near Yosemite Park Out Of Control; Increasing Number Of Active Fires Dwindle Firefighting Resources

 @Keemohan on August 22 2013 3:36 AM
fire
A firefighter watches the fire line as the Elk Complex fire burns near the town of Pine, Idaho, in this U.S. Forest Service (USFS) handout picture taken August 13, 2013. Reuters

A wildfire near Yosemite National Park in California that is threatening 2,500 structures in the area, is just one of the more than 50 active fires blazing across the western region of the country that has stretched the nation’s firefighting resources, reports said. 

According to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho -- the nation’s support center for wildfire fighting -- 51 uncontained fires are currently active throughout the western U.S. region. And, more than 19,000 firefighters were battling fires in the states of California, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Fighting these fires have stretched the nation’s firefighting resources to the limit, and the U.S. Forest Service -- the nation's top wildfire-fighting agency -- told Associated Press on Wednesday that it was running out of cash to fight wildfires. Reportedly, the agency shelled out $967 million this year to fight the more than 32,000 fires, and as of Wednesday, only $50 million were left.

According to AP, this amount is just enough to pay for fighting fires for a few more days and the agency has diverted $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to fill the gap. 

Unfavorable climatic conditions such as hot and dry weather also have made the country's western region prone to fires.

As of late Wednesday, the fire which started on Aug. 17 near the Stanislaus National Forest, about 120 miles west of Yosemite, had grown to more than 25 square miles and was only five percent contained, AP reported.

The blaze, dubbed the Rim Fire, has led to the evacuation of hundreds in the area, and has affected businesses due to the closure of state routes.

"This is typically a very busy time for us until Labor Day, so it's definitely affecting business not having the traffic come through to Yosemite," Britney Sorsdahl, a manager at the Iron Door Saloon and Grill in Groveland, a community of about 600 about five miles from the fire, told AP.

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