LOS ANGELES (AP) — Officials say winds from a thunderstorm pushed a blaze near Yosemite National Park farther into a grove of 2,700-year-old giant sequoias.
Fire information officer Anne Grandy said Monday that crews don’t know yet whether the 15-square-mile fire has damaged any trees in Nelder Grove outside the park. She says giant sequoias are resilient and can withstand low low-intensity thunderstorm over the blaze on Sunday pushed it out about a mile (1.6 kilometers) in a span of two hours. The fire is partially contained and has forced the evacuation of a small town.
The Nelder Grove holds more than 100 giant sequoias, including one of the world’s largest, the 24-story-high Bull Buck sequoia.
Wildfires also forced thousands to flee their homes across the U.S. West during a sweltering, smoke-shrouded holiday weekend of record heat.
The fires Sunday caused evacuations in Glacier National Park in Montana and many other parts of the West and compelled crews to rescue about 140 hikers who had spent the night in the woods after fire broke out along the popular Columbia River Gorge Trail in Oregon.
A sudden gusty series of rainstorms allowed Los Angeles, however, to cancel evacuation orders for a wildfire that the mayor called the largest in the city’s history and sent beach umbrellas and toy shovels bouncing down Southern California beaches late Sunday.