Fire spreads, but Yosemite park likely to stay busy

The Big Meadow wildfire may extend the drive into Yosemite National Park for some visitors, but officials don't think it will keep people away for the Labor Day weekend.

The fire, which began as a planned burn Wednesday then spread out of control, had grown by Tuesday morning to 5,257 acres in Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest. Smoke from the fire prompted officials to close a portion of Highway 120, the northern route into the park.

The towns of Old El Portal and Foresta have been evacuated. Old El Portal is west of El Portal on Highway 140, the middle route into the park along the Merced River. Foresta is a village of cabins inside the park, northeast of El Portal.

Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said campgrounds in the park remain full: "A few people have left early because of the road closures, but overall we're not seeing empty campsites."

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