(Photo: Google Maps Screen Shot)
The Yosemite wildfire 2013 has more than tripled in size on Thursday, according to officials, with the massive fire, which is actually just outside the national park, having now consumed 84 square miles.
The wildfire raging just outside Yosemite National Park has forced authorities to shut down businesses in the neighboring communities, and large numbers of tourists in the surrounding regions have also been forced to leave the area despite it being peak tourist season.
The extensive fire has now also forced California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency, as the wildfire bears down on thousands of residences and other buildings in the nearby areas.
By Thursday late afternoon the Yosemite wildfire was still only 2 percent contained, which was a significant decrease from it being 5 percent contained on Wednesday.
Fire crews have found it desperately hard to keep any kind of control of the fire, and it has spread enormously on Thursday, destroying two homes and seven other outbuildings, according to The Associated Press.
The Yosemite National Park still technically remains open, but the fire has forced the closure of a four mile area of State Route 120 – on the west side which is one of the three main entrances to the national park.
Voluntary evacuations have been put out for Pine Mountain Lake, which is believed to have a population of just under 3,000 people. Two other camping grounds, and other area residences have also been asked to voluntarily evacuate. However, as the fire continues to spread, officials are warning that more evacuations could be ordered, and residents should remain vigilant and listen out for updates. Various homes, hotels and businesses are currently thought to be under threat in Groveland, which is just five miles from the fire now, and holds a population of about 600 people.
Yosemite Park officials have assured people that for the moment the fire has not affected the park itself, and entrances are still available via State Routes 140 and 41 from the west, as well as State Route 120 from the east.
Park spokesman Scott Gediman has confirmed, "The fire is totally outside the park. The park's very busy, people are here. There's no reason that they should not come."
Here is a video showing footage of the Rim Fire just outside Yosemite National Park: