Official: Firefighters to protect Yosemite ‘no matter what it takes’

Published 6:34 PM EDT, Sun August 25, 2013

Story highlights

Evacuating residents say they're worried about their homes

Official: "We're going to do everything in our power to protect" Yosemite

The Rim Fire has burned nearly 134,000 acres in California

The fire threatens to grow amid extremely dry conditions and hot weather

(CNN) —  

Susan Loesch and Curtis Evans just started settling into their second home in California’s Sierra foothills a few months ago. Now, they’re worried it could go up in smoke as the massive wildfire spreads.

“This is kind of a little paradise up here for us. … To think this would all be gone would be devastating,” Evans told CNN on Sunday.

Cradling their Chihuahua, Cuervo, they prepared to leave the area Sunday.

“It’s scary,” Loesch said. “You worry about the firefighters being on the line. … It’s overwhelming.”

The wildfire, which was 20% contained Monday night, was spreading primarily to the east and threatened to grow amid extremely dry conditions and hot weather.

After days of battling the blaze, things were looking up on Sunday, said Vickie Wright, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service.

“We’re a long way from complete,” she said, “but at least our boots on the ground are getting a better handle on it.”

A top priority is stopping the fire from spreading further in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite fire: Blaze spreads to national park

“The park is a national treasure,” said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Vickie Wright, “so no matter what it takes, we’re going to do everything in our power to protect that park.”

While the Rim Fire has consumed 12,000 acres in the northwest section of Yosemite National Park, so far it has had little or no direct impact on Yosemite Valley, a popular spot for tourists and home to many of the famous cliffs and waterfalls in the park.