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California's destructive Ferguson fire explodes overnight

By Karen Graham     Jul 23, 2018 in Environment
The Ferguson Fire burning west of Yosemite National Park spread to 33,743 acres Monday morning, but firefighters increased containment to 13 percent, authorities reported.
The raging wildfire, just outside of Yosemite National Park is evading the efforts of nearly 3,000 firefighters as it roars through dry brush and rugged terrain, charring everything in its path and growing daily as it heads toward populated areas.
On the western edge of the fire, crews are mopping up hot spots in Jerseydale, and officials this morning are saying they have achieved 13 percent containment. And even though the fire grew by nearly 3,000 acres since Sunday — up to 33,743 acres total - crews have managed to establish more lines around the conflagration.
Fire officials reported that overnight, one structure was destroyed by the fire, but today, the number of structures threatened jumped from a couple hundred on Sunday to 3,494, because skies cleared enough to get more accurate aerial surveys, said Rich Eagan, a Ferguson Fire spokesman.
North of the Merced River, the fire was burning in the Stanislaus National Forest and fire managers were using a mix of heavy equipment and hand crews to widen roads and build lines in the Montgomery Gulch area, while in the south, the fire continues its relentless move toward the Chowchilla area.
Weather conditions are starting to kick in with temperatures expected to be in the triple digits. “This thing, unfortunately, is going to take us a while to control. It’s a beast,” Eagan said. “We could be here for a while.”
Weather forecast for Monday  July 23  2018.
Weather forecast for Monday, July 23, 2018.
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