8/21/2014

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Local & Regional

Nearly 40 percent of Rim Fire land a 'moonscape'

Nearly 40 percent of Rim Fire land a 'moonscape'
In this September 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, Brad Rust, a soils scientist from the Burned Area Emergency Response team assesses a burn area in the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service)
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A fire that raged in forestland in and around Yosemite National Park has left a contiguous "moonscape" in the Sierra Nevada mountains larger than any in centuries.

The Rim Fire has consumed about 400 square miles, but within that footprint is an area of 60 square miles that burned so intensely everything likely is dead.

Jay Miller of the U.S. Forest Service called the amount of devastation from the fast-moving conflagration the largest since the 1300s.

Miller used satellite images to determine that dozens of other hot spots also burned inside the fire's footprint. He said in total, nearly 40 percent of the area inside the fire's boundary likely will look like a moonscape.

The blaze ignited Aug. 17 when a hunter's fire swept away. It is under control.

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