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Firefighters Gain Ground As Rim Fire Grows Past 160,000 Acres, 20% Contained

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Nick Janes Nick Janes
Nick Janes joined KOVR/KMAX in December 2008 as a reporter. Nick...
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TUOLUMNE COUNTY (CBS13) – Firefighters are gaining ground on the wildfire raging in Yosemite National Park, but homes, natural treasures and drinking water are still being threatened.

Fire crews are reporting significant progress along the southwestern edge of the fire. The Rim Fire is now 20 percent contained, meaning firefighters have built a fire line around 20 percent of the fire. That’s up from 15 percent earlier Monday.

The fire also burned another 10,000 acres, bring the scorching total to 161,000 acres. So far 23 structures have been destroyed, including at least four homes.

It’s scorching land northeast of Groveland in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County.

Near sunset, Tuolumne townsfolk gathered at Jeremy’s hillside home.

“Like two, three days ago, we must’ve watched about 40 drops,” he said.

His sweeping backyard view is now filled with a backdrop of billowing smoke and drops from DC-10s as firefighters try to keep the Rim Fire at bay.

Hundreds of locals packed a Sonora Church with concern etched on their faces, wanting to know where the fire is and where it’s going.

“Is it gonna come down?” asked Jan Colombani. “I think it’s a real possibility and I wanna know the truth.”

Fire officials have made major strides on the fire’s southwest side near the small community of Pine Mountain Lake. Some evacuation orders there are already been lifted.

Elsewhere, the wildfire is making a strong run to the east into Yosemite. It tore through the Berkeley Tuolumne campground, a beloved — decades old — site near Groveland.

Amid some newfound optimism, it’s clear the fight is far from over.

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