Californian Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the city of San Francisco, being only 150 miles away from a raging fire that has grown 200 square miles and is heading for the city’s water supply and power lines.
The fire, known as Rim Fire, began on August 17th in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County and has since spread to the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park, a tourist area which attracts 15,000 visitors a day, and the county of San Francisco.
Governor Jerry Brown said as he issued an emergency proclamation for the city on Friday, “The wildfires that started in Tuolumne County have caused damage to electrical infrastructure serving the City and County of San Francisco, and now threaten damage to property, equipment, and resources of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.”
Concern over the fire’s unpredictable reach has grown strong as over 2,600 firefighters fight the blaze that is said to be just 5% contained, according to officials.
The wildfire is not only heading to San Francisco’s reservoir, which holds about 85% of the city’s water supply, but towards the international airport and San Francisco General Hospital.
A spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Daniel Berlant, said the fire was the 16th-largest on record in California. "We are making progress but unfortunately the steep terrain definitely has posed a major challenge," he said.
Rim Fire has grown by ferociously burning a great number dry timber and brush; it created its own weather pattern and no one can predict exactly which direction the fire will travel.
Mandatory and voluntary evacuations have begun for residents of more than 5,500 homes; four homes have already been destroyed.
The massive wildfire threatens Yosemite’s famous nature reserve and has caused a hit to summer tourism. Firefighters and aircraft carriers are eagerly working on containing the blaze from spreading any further.