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Rim Fire Shuttering Tuolumne County Schools Through Labor Day

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TUOLUMNE COUNTY (CBS13) — Firefighters continued the week-and-a-half old struggle against the Rim Fire, which is burning deeper into Yosemite National Park.

The fire covers more than 192,000 and is now 30 percent contained as nearly 4,200 firefighters continue to battle the flames.

The fire started Aug. 17 in Tuolumne County where schools are forced to stay closed through Labor Day because of the smoke.

That’s 21 schools covering 6,500 students ranging from kindergartners to high-school seniors.

Administrators say the smoky skies are creating health concerns.

“Contaminants, if you have 50 or less is considered healthy we were over 200 in average, in some areas by our schools was 500,” said Superintendent Joe Silva.

High-school junior Laura Cullum attended class for two days at Sonora High this week and says it was evident smoke from the massive blaze was causing health problems.

“So many people when we were in school were having asthma attacks. It was terrible. It was really scary, they opened up a building so kids could be inside.”

The closure means the teen’s aunt, who is in the process of moving to the area, couldn’t enroll her fourth-grader.

“I was going to register her for school today but it didn’t work out that way,” said Callie Luna.

No school for working parents proving to be difficult for some families.

Lauren has spent time at her mother’s office.

“I understand I shouldn’t be home by myself because I wouldn’t want to be alone if we have to evacuate.”

Make-up days may be added to the end of the school year, but that decision won’t be made until school is back in session.

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