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Crews make overnight gains on Yosemite wildfire

  • In this Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, a member of the Bureau of Land Management Silver State Hotshot crew from Elko, Nevada, walks through a burn operation on the southern flank of the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan)

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK — Crews working to corral the massive wildfire searing the edge of Yosemite National Park made major gains on the blaze overnight and were anticipating additional advances on Monday with the help of cooler temperatures and higher humidity, officials said.

The fire was 60 percent contained as of Monday morning, up from 45 percent Sunday night, according to California fire officials. The blaze also grew about 9 square miles and now covers more than 357 square miles.

Full containment is not expected until Sept. 20.

Western Wildfires

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Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for some south of Highway 120 and Tioga Road west of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area is closed.

Crews will continue building fire lines and burning away the fire's potential fuel sources on Monday.

"We do have a nice window here of more cooperative weather," state fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

Gusty winds and dryer conditions are expected midweek, however, again raising the fire danger, Berlant said.

The blaze started Aug. 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest and two-thirds of the land burned since then is located there as well. The cause is being investigated. About 4,500 structures are threatened.

The fire — the fourth largest in California history — has claimed 111 structures, 11 of them homes.

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