Fire near Yosemite now 40 percent contained

Fire crews extended containment lines on the south flank of the Telegraph fire — burning 10 miles west of Yosemite National Park — and officials were hopeful that the worst was over.

The blaze, which has been burning since Friday, is now 40 percent contained and more progress is expected overnight, said Mike Mohler, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

"Right now things are looking good," Mohler said Wednesday afternoon. "Tonight's a big deal for us. It will be a big turning point."

As many as 4,000 homes continue to be threatened, and the containment lines should help townsfolk in Mariposa, a community of 1,800 south of the fire, breathe easier.

Nevertheless, the fire continued to spread northward and by Wednesday had burned more than 32,000 acres.

Yosemite National Park remained open, although access on Highway 140 was limited. Fire operations have led to closures, although the California Highway Patrol was escorting traffic during some periods of the day.

"The fire is still heading north, but the forward spread has really slowed," Mohler said. Fire crews — now totaling about 3,700 personnel — were aided by higher humidity.