Yosemite National Park bans campfires in some areas of park

July 16, 2022 GMT
The Peter Fire in Shasta County destroys a home in Anderson, Calif., on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Authorities say evacuations have been ordered after a fire destroyed homes and scorched vegetation in Northern California. Cal Fire says the blaze broke out around mid-afternoon Thursday in Shasta County, just south of Redding. The fire quickly grew to 200 acres. The Redding Record Searchlight reports at least three houses burned. (Damon Arthur/The Record Searchlight via AP)
The Peter Fire in Shasta County destroys a home in Anderson, Calif., on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Authorities say evacuations have been ordered after a fire destroyed homes and scorched vegetation in Northern California. Cal Fire says the blaze broke out around mid-afternoon Thursday in Shasta County, just south of Redding. The fire quickly grew to 200 acres. The Redding Record Searchlight reports at least three houses burned. (Damon Arthur/The Record Searchlight via AP)
The Peter Fire in Shasta County destroys a home in Anderson, Calif., on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Authorities say evacuations have been ordered after a fire destroyed homes and scorched vegetation in Northern California. Cal Fire says the blaze broke out around mid-afternoon Thursday in Shasta County, just south of Redding. The fire quickly grew to 200 acres. The Redding Record Searchlight reports at least three houses burned. (Damon Arthur/The Record Searchlight via AP)
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The Peter Fire in Shasta County destroys a home in Anderson, Calif., on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Authorities say evacuations have been ordered after a fire destroyed homes and scorched vegetation in Northern California. Cal Fire says the blaze broke out around mid-afternoon Thursday in Shasta County, just south of Redding. The fire quickly grew to 200 acres. The Redding Record Searchlight reports at least three houses burned. (Damon Arthur/The Record Searchlight via AP)
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The Peter Fire in Shasta County destroys a home in Anderson, Calif., on Thursday, July 14, 2022. Authorities say evacuations have been ordered after a fire destroyed homes and scorched vegetation in Northern California. Cal Fire says the blaze broke out around mid-afternoon Thursday in Shasta County, just south of Redding. The fire quickly grew to 200 acres. The Redding Record Searchlight reports at least three houses burned. (Damon Arthur/The Record Searchlight via AP)

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Yosemite National Park visitors will be prohibited from having campfires in some areas of the park starting Saturday to reduce the threat of sparking new wildfires at Yosemite, where firefighters have been battling a blaze since last week, officials said.

Visitors won’t be allowed to start campfires, cooking fires, and/or charcoal fires in areas that are below 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) in elevation unless they are in campgrounds accessible by car or in picnic areas in developed portions of the park, the National Park Service said in a statement Friday.

It said smoking is also prohibited in areas below 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) except inside an enclosed vehicle, a campground or picnic area where fires are specifically allowed, in a designated smoking area, or while in an area that is barren or has been cleared of all flammable material.

Officials said visitors will be allowed to start fires in areas above 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) elevation but not above 9,600 feet (2,900 meters) elevation.

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The human-caused Washburn Fire broke out last week next to the park’s Washburn Trail and had grown to 7.3 square miles (18.9 square kilometers) and 27% containment Friday. How the blaze started remains under investigation.

Farther north, the Peter Fire in Shasta County south of Redding remained at 304 acres (123 hectares) but containment jumped to 34% Friday, up from 25%.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the fire erupted shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday and destroyed 12 structures before its forward progress was stopped.

The Redding Record Searchlight newspaper reported that at least three of the structures were homes.