4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sarah Gibson, California fire department spokeswoman:
"I believe the last fire in this area was the Stanislaus fire, which was in 1987. So you're looking at a good 20 years' worth of what we call fuel - basically vegetation. It's chemise, it's dry shrubs, it's dry grass and some mixed timber. And the timber this year is very receptive to flaming and burning."
A fast-spreading fire burning near an entrance to Yosemite National Park in California forced the evacuations of 170 homes and caused officials to cut power to the park.
The fire grew from slightly more than one square mile (1.6 square kilometres) to 25 square miles (40 square kilometres) on Saturday, and was threatening about two-thousand homes, said a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
About 900 firefighters battled the blaze that burned on both sides of a steep, rugged canyon along the Merced River.
Temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) and low humidity hampered firefighting efforts.
The weather, coupled with a dry wilderness area, has made for an extremely dangerous fire to fight.
"You're looking at a good 20 years' worth of what we call fuel - basically vegetation. It's chemise, it's dry shrubs, it's dry grass and some mixed timber. And the timber this year is very receptive to flaming and burning," said California fire department spokeswoman, Sarah Gibson.
Most of the evacuated homes are in the town of Midpines, located along Highway 140, the thoroughfare that leads to the west entrance of Yosemite National Park.
Fire crews on Saturday were being flown into the hard-to-reach area. Crews had to hike several hours to get to the fire because smoke prohibited aircraft from flying in the area.