Blaze grows to over 700 acres

Firefighters battled a growing wildfire at Yosemite National Park over the weekend that threatened the park’s largest grove of giant sequoias and the historic Wawona community.

The Washburn Firemore than doubled in size Saturday, growing to 1,190 acres, fire officials said.

Firefighters worked Friday and Saturday to save the historic Mariposa Grove, which houses about 500 thousand year-old giant sequoias. An area at the southern edge of the park was evacuated Friday afternoon. The fire remained 0% contained.

As of Saturday night, there were no reports of well-known sequoias in the park, such as the Grizzly Giant, being damaged.

The weekend’s weather was not looking favorable for battling the flames, officials warned — temperatures were expected to increase while humidity decreased, which are conditions that can be conducive to a fire’s spread. Forecasters expect high temperatures in the mid 80s or higher to continue for several days. A relative lack of wind, however, has helped the firefight.

The blaze was exhibiting “moderate fire behavior,” officials said, including long-range spotting — when sparks carried by the wind start new fires — and torching, when small groups of trees ignite, usually from the bottom up.

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