Page last updated at 10:25 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 11:25 UK

California fire destroys 12 homes


The fire near Yosemite National Park

A wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park in California has destroyed 12 houses and is threatening hundreds more, US officials say.

The blaze, dubbed the Telegraph Fire, has burned more than 26,000 acres (10,521 hectares) since Friday.

Authorities have cut electricity to the park and surrounding areas to protect firefighters as they battle the flames.

California has seen hundreds of wildfires this year after months of hot, dry conditions.

At least 12 houses and 27 outbuildings in and near the town of Midpines had been destroyed by the Telegraph Fire, officials said on Sunday.

Midpines, home to some 600 people, lies 12 miles (19km) from Yosemite National Park.


Authorities ordered people to leave 195 homes under immediate threat and officials said about 2,000 houses faced some danger from fast-spreading flames, the Associated Press reported.

"There's no fire history in the past 100 years. That's one of the reasons this fire's been able to burn so erratically," said Daniel Berlant of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Condors moved

Some 2,000 firefighters have been deployed to try to contain the fire. To help protect them as they worked near power lines, authorities cut electricity to a wide area, including the national park.

The fires were moving eastward and southward on Sunday evening towards the town of Mariposa, where some 1,800 people live, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In Southern California, thousands of visitors had to leave Los Angeles zoo on Sunday as a brush fire which had charred about 25 acres (10 hectares) came close to the site.

Condors and two vultures had to be relocated as flames burned within 1,000 ft (305m) of a California condor enclosure, a zoo spokesman said.

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