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Rim fire near Yosemite grows to more than 63,000 acres

Yosemite National Park

The massive Rim fire near Yosemite National Park continued to rage out of control Thursday night, prompting new evacuations as more than 1,000 firefighters battled to protect hundreds of structures threatened by advancing flames.

The blaze had consumed more than 63,000 acres of brush and timber in the Stanislaus National Forest, fire officials said. The cost of fighting the fire, which has been burning since Saturday afternoon, was more that $5 million. 

Earlier Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency as the wildfire spread in two directions.

PHOTOS: Rim fire rages near Yosemite

The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office determined that there was an immediate threat to life and property and issued a new evacuation order for residents north of Ferretti Road to Elderberry Road. Flames were moving west toward homes in Pine Mountain Lake and west toward Camp Mather, which is near the border of Yosemite. 

The blaze was just 1% contained Thursday night as flames threatened 2,500 structures, the U.S. Forest Service said. 

So far, nine structures had been destroyed. The blaze was spewing out thick clouds of smoke that stretched as far as Reno, about 160 miles away.

California 120, the highway leading to the west side of Yosemite remained closed. But entrances to the park from the south -- on highways 41 and 4 -- remained open and Yosemite Valley was free from smoke, officials said.

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robert.lopez@latimes.com

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