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Yosemite fire expands, threatens giant redwoods


SAN FRANCISCO — A fire on the western side of Yosemite National Park expanded to 3,060 acres Tuesday, threatening a grove of giant redwoods and limiting access to the park.

Firefighters made progress containing the fire, which was burning through chaparral, grass and timber. Some 19% of the perimeter was contained, and residents of the town of El Portal were allowed to return to their homes.

The fire was temporarily cutting off some access points to the park, a big tourist draw during the summer, closing Big Oak Flat Road and parts of Highway 120. Three campgrounds were also closed. The Merced Grove Giant Sequoia within the park was threatened, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Some residents allowed to return in Yosemite fire; Highway 120 still closed


SHINGLE SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) - Evacuation orders have been lifted for about half of the estimated 100 homes cleared out by a wildfire in Yosemite National Park.

Park fire information spokeswoman Jennifer Wuchner says residents of the community of Old El Portal were allowed to return home at 9 a.m. Tuesday. About 45 homes in the community of Foresta remain evacuated.

The fire has sent smoke plumes into the park's famed valley, though the park itself has remained open.

The blaze has burned through nearly 5 square miles and is 19 percent contained.


Firefighters urge extreme caution when using fireworks

Firefighters urge extreme caution when using fireworks


SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento area has seen an average of one serious fire a day in recent weeks. And when fireworks go on sale at noon on Saturday, fire agencies start their busiest week of the fire season.

"We're seeing fires daily," Sacramento Metro Fire spokesperson Michelle Eidam said. "We all know that, so what we want people to hear clearly is, enjoy the fireworks but be really, really smart about them."

Eidam points out that safe and sane fireworks are illegal for anyone under 18 to use.

"Because of the fire danger. There's a million reasons, but that's a hard and fast rule," Eidam said. "Parents will be cited, parents can be cited."

Eidam said safe and sane fireworks should never be modified and or used more than one at a time. Fireworks that are not safe and sane are easily recognized, she said.

Judge rules brother's rights were not violated in Leila Fowler murder case


SAN ANDREAS - The judge in the Leila Fowler murder case said her brother's rights were not violated during five interviews by sheriff's investigators without a defense attorney present.

A two-day hearing prompted by Isaiah Fowler's defense team led to Judge Thomas A. Smith refusing to suppress statements made by the boy before he was arrested.

Isaiah, 12 at the time, was the only other person at the family's house in Valley Springs when Leila was stabbed to death on April 27, 2013.

His attorneys said the tone of the interviews quickly shifted from detectives considering Isaiah a witness to them believing he was the killer.

And during the two-week period leading up to Isaiah's arrest, the attorneys said Barney Fowler was put in the nearly impossible position of being his son's guardian, while trying to find out who killed his daughter.

Windswept fires kept firefighters on the defensive for another day.

Windswept fires kept firefighters on the defensive for another day.


SACRAMENTO - Another day of wind kept firefighters on the run across Northern California, battling grass and brush fires.

A fire alongside Sacramento's old dump beside the Capitol City Freeway sent city fire crews on the offensive shortly before 1:30 p.m. Friday. The windswept blaze burned 8 acres before it was contained. Arson is suspected and police have detained a suspect for questioning.

A fire that broke out in Elk Grove along Civic Drive was contained to about 1 acre. The blaze was caused by someone mowing the grass in the middle of a windy day.

"This week is a classic example of when you should not be doing defensible space," Cal Fire spokesperson Daniel Berlant said. "In the hot temperatures, dry conditions and a little bit of wind, that's gonna allow a fire to quickly spark and ignite and spread very, very quickly."

Keep the fire triangle in mind this fire season

Keep the fire triangle in mind this fire season


The fire season started early and is already keeping firefighters busy.

The lack of rain during the 2013-2014 rainy season combined with the two previous dry years, added up to critical fire conditions.

Most fires require three elements to ignite: fuel, oxygen and heat. This is illustrated as a fire triangle. Removing one of the elements will extinguish or prevent fires. The triangle is a helpful tool when surveying our own fire risk.

When we look at our current year, there is plenty of dry brush for fuel due to the drought. Winds can help to further dry vegetation making it prime for catching fire and quickly spreading. Clearing dry brush can help to minimize this spreading.

Oxygen is present naturally in our atmosphere.

Finally, heat is especially common during the late spring and through the summer.

Three teen students assaulted near Turlock schools

Three teen students assaulted near Turlock schools


SACRAMENTO - Police in Turlock are stepping up patrols around several schools after three teens were assaulted in less than 24 hours.

Police say one girl was groped as she was walking home from school Monday afternoon.

Two more students were assaulted on their way to school Tuesday morning.

The attacks put parents, students and staff at Turlock Junior High and Pitman High schools on high alert. A total of three female students were targeted in the area on three separate occasions.

The Turlock Unified School District sent out an automated phone message to all parents, warming them to take precautions.

The first incident happened Monday afternoon as a 16-year-old girl was walking home from school on Christoffersen Parkway. Police say a man grabbed her inappropriately. She was able to free herself and ran to a nearby church to ask for help.