Fire in Little Yosemite Valley triples in size

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Yosemite Meadow Fire

A wildfire in Yosemite National Park grew to more than 2,000 acres overnight Sunday. (Yosemite National Park)

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — A wildfire burning near Half Dome in Yosemite National Park had blackened thousands of acres as of Monday morning, park officials said.

The Meadows fire, which had burned slowly for 49 day, flamed out of control Sunday when winds pushed it into the heavily forested slopes of Little Yosemite Valley. Park officials evacuated hikers off of Half Dome with helicopters and closed campgrounds and hiking trails in the area.

Water-dropping helicopters and air tankers were assisting more hundreds of firefighters on the ground, but officials had no estimate of how much of the fire was contained, the Los Angeles Times said.

The fire was sparked by a lightning strike in late July, but park officials let it burn to restore the area’s natural burn pattern, officials said. That police changed when the fire began spreading rapidly on Sunday.