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One of the most popular national parks in the United States announced its imminent partial closure on Tuesday as thick plumes of smoke drifted from a deadly wildfire raging in central California.

The smoke, which stems from the Ferguson Fire that started July 13, has burned more than 36,600 acres, or 57 square miles, AccuWeather reports, and since Tuesday has only been 25 percent contained. Jerry Brown declared states of emergency for the three largest fires, which will authorize the state to rally resources to local governments. In 2016, a confirmed lightning strike tree was observed and resulted in a 3.2-acre surface fire, according to the National Park Service, which described the fire as "smoldering and creeping in brush, timber and duff, with moderate spread potential".

Yosemite Valley, which hasn't been closed because of fire for nearly 30 years, will be shut down until at least Sunday, along with a winding, mountainous, 20-mile stretch of California's State Route 41, the main artery into the park.

We have a lot of global guests that have planned their route thru California to experience Yosemite National Park.

Vivek Vishal, who came to the park with his family from Texas, had planned to stay until Thursday, but was forced to change course as the fire came closer.

"We have a lot of global guests that have planned their route through California to experience Yosemite National Park".

At least a thousand campground and hotel bookings will be canceled - to say nothing of the impact on day visitors, park workers and small businesses along the highway, Gediman said.

Cal Fire Unit Chief Mike Hebrard told the Record Searchlight newspaper that the blaze made a huge push overnight and that engine crews were in the community of Old Shasta trying to save structures. Park spokesman Scott Gediman says the exodus was orderly and visitors are understanding of the decision to close.

It was one of five major, uncontained wildfires burning across California during a heat wave that has the state sizzling under record-shattering temperatures.

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"People have been very understanding", Gediman said.

Authorities ordered residents to leave Idyllwild and several neighboring communities, home to about 12,000 people.

Crews contained just 10 percent of it, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

"There will be some kind of a firing operation that takes place seven miles to get us to Wawona", Rocky Opliger, deputy incident fire commander, told Visalia Times-Delta.

The last time the 7.5-mile-long valley was closed because of fire was 1990, he said. On July 14, a firefighter was killed while six others have been reported as injured since the blaze began.

The fire command reported Wednesday morning that 3,434 personnel are engaging the Ferguson Fire.

"People have been very understanding", Gediman said.

A mass of dry air moved over the fire Tuesday evening, keeping humidity levels exceptionally low throughout the night.

The new evacuations cover communities outside the park's north side.


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