A firefighter that killed a firefighter from California grew rapidly and forced the closure of a keyway to Yosemite National Park on Sunday. Officials say heavy fire equipment operator Braden Varney, 36, died early on Saturday at the fire. (July 16)
A deadly uncontrolled California wild fire more than doubled in size overnight and crawled more than 14 square kilometers of brush and forest on Monday, forcing closure of a key. Access to Yosemite National Park in the high season.
The firefighters had not determined the cause of the fan that started burning Friday night along the western edge of the park, where evacuation orders were issued for a handful of small communities. Guests were also ordered by Yosemite Cedar Lodge at the park.
"You can not see anything, it's so smokey. It's crazy, says receptionist Spencer Arebalo.
More than 500 firefighters fought for the fan, which contained only 2 percent. Firemen Braden Varney, 36 and one married father of two, was killed on Saturday when his bulldozer rolled over, the authorities said.
Ferguson Fire is one of dozens of burns across California and the West, as the region is struggling with high temperatures that have dramatically increased fire risk. The steep, robust terrain has laid to challenge the Ferguson Fire team.
"Weather is expected to remain hot and dry for the next seven days, with isolated thunderstorms possible", Michael Strawhun, the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team, warned in his incident report.
Washington, Oregon, Northern California and much of the Northwest, temperatures will continue to exceed the average by at least the first half of the week according to AccuWeather. By the end of the week, colder weather is expected to infiltrate the Pacific Northwest, limiting daily high temperatures to more comfortable levels.  More: Yosemite Fire May Be a Big Threat to the National Park  More: The American Firefighter dies while fighting with flames near Yosemite National Park
In Yosemite a mile section of State Route 140 was closed when firefighters worked to form a fire line along the highway. The park was open, but visitors were flagged with warnings.
"Due to road closure on Highway 140, expect long waiting times on Highway 41 at the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park," the park said on Twitter, adding that "smoke-sensitive visitors should plan to limit all exhausting outdoor activities or plans to visit the park another time. "
Climateologist Daniel Swain, UCLA, warns that the fire is" likely to burn for many days and may eventually be a major threat "for the 120000 mile park in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The flames burn brush and wood in steep, inaccessible terrain. Pacific Gas and Electric have extinguished their power lines that pass through the combustion area, so there is no electricity in Yosemite, El Portal and Foresta.
Over 1 million acres across the country are currently part of active fires, according to federal officials. More than 3.3 million hectares have been burned, slightly before the national average in the last decade of this season.
Contributing: Mike Chapman, Trevor Hughes, Doyle Rice, USA TODAY Network; Associated Press
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