The El Portal fire grew another 400 acres on Wednesday, but Big Oak Flat Road was reopened to allow Highway 120 drivers to enter Yosemite Valley without detour.
The fire reached 3,900 acres and remained at 34 percent containment as of this morning. Of those acres, 967 are in Yosemite National Park and the rest are in the Stanislaus National Forest.
Smoke decreased visibility for both air resources and fire perimeter monitoring on Wednesday, according to an update from the incident-command team Wednesday night.
That allowed the fire to make a one-half to three-quarter mile run in the Crane Creek area. Firefighters did get a handle on two small spots detected at the head of the fire and lined and controlled them.
Big Oak Flat Road — which gives Highway 120 drivers access to Yosemite Valley — was reopened.
More lines were created and more resources were put on the area, according to Gary Wuchner, fire information officer for Yosemite National Park.
The only roads closed now are small ones to the community of Foresta, which remains under evacuation. Firefighters are also working to protect high-voltage transmission lines serving Foresta, El Portal and the Merced Sequoia grove.
Crane Flat, Yosemite Creek and Bridalveil Creek campgrounds remain closed. The community of Old El Portal reopened Tuesday.
For the complete story, see the July 31, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.