YOSEMITE — Roads and campgrounds on Yosemite National Park's western side remained closed Friday as firefighters continued to battle a wildfire north of Foresta.
The number of firefighters battling the blaze was expected to double to 1,000 over the weekend.
Among them were 21 firefighters from Stanislaus County agencies, including personnel from the Modesto Fire Department, Oakdale city and rural, Salida and Turlock Rural. Firefighters had the fire 10 percent contained Friday afternoon.
The Mariposa County sheriff's office ordered guests and staff at the Yosemite View Lodge, just outside the park's western gate, to evacuate Friday afternoon. People without lodging were offered beds in a shelter in Mariposa staffed by the Red Cross.
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Residents of the nearby community of El Portal watched as water-dropping helicopters refilled from the Merced River.
The fire was intentionally set Wednesday, a routine step to improve forest health and prevent out-of-control fires. But shifting winds blew the blaze out of control. By Friday, the fire had burned through 2,224 acres. About 200 Foresta residents were forced to leave the area.
Officials closed the Big Oak Flat Road from Crane Flat Gas Station to the intersection of El Portal Road. Crane Flat Campground and the Tamarack Flat Campground also were closed.
Activity at the Ahwahnee Hotel returned to normal Friday. Officials allowed guests to return to the 82-year-old lodge, which was evacuated after a rock slide Wednesday. Boulders fell from the 1,600-foot Royal Arches granite formation, some landing in the hotel parking lot.
A geologist analyzed the area Thursday and ruled it was safe for guests to return.
Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2378.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.